LGNZ welcomes momentum on water reform
29 April 2022
LGNZ President Stuart Crosby says the Government’s decisions on the Three Waters Governance Working Group recommendations provide much-needed momentum, as well as certainty for ratepayers.
“Councils face big future bills for water services given the new regulator, the unknown condition of many pipes and the impact of climate change. Without reform, ratepayers will be hit in the pocket.
“Everyone in the local government sector is advocating for change to our three waters system, even those opposed to the Government’s model. No one thinks the status quo is sustainable.
“LGNZ is encouraged to see the Minister support the Working Group’s recommendations around making public ownership crystal clear, through a shareholding for councils. We also support the changes to strengthen communities’ and councils’ voices. These changes address key concerns and we’ve pushed hard for them.
“Without reform, many councils will struggle to meet new water standards, which will require significant investment over time. They will face prosecution by the new water regulator if they’re not meeting standards.
“All New Zealanders deserve safe drinking water – and our environment deserves first-world waste and stormwater services. That means fundamental change to how water services are funded and delivered – not in 10 or 20 years’ time but now.
“Our communities need certainty. They can’t afford the huge costs that come with doing nothing and maintaining the status quo.
“LGNZ supports the Governance Working Group’s recommendations because they strengthen the model. Clarifying ownership protects against privatisation; and community connection is enhanced by adding subgroups to the Regional Representative Groups.
“Councils will play a critical role in three waters after reform. They will go from being involved in the operational delivery to being responsible for planning for growth and resilience, being the voice of their communities, and monitoring performance.”