Kāpiti Coast to participate in initial stage of Three Waters reform
Councillors have agreed that Kāpiti Coast District Council will participate in the initial stage of the Government’s Three Waters Services Reforms programme.
A Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed today, doesn’t commit Council to participation in further phases of the programme but will provide a seat at the table, together with Government and regional partners, to explore the local impacts of a proposal to amalgamate water, wastewater and possibly stormwater assets and services.
In exchange for its participation, Council will receive a $6.2 million grant to further strengthen water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and services across the district.
“The Three Waters reforms have the potential for significant changes to the way critical water infrastructure and services are delivered in our district,” says Kāpiti Coast District Mayor K Gurunathan.
“Over the past decade or more we have invested heavily in our water management, security and infrastructure on behalf of, and for the benefit of, our community and the environment. Our water-related assets together total a value of $326 million, which is 36 per cent of Council’s total assets. A further $12.7 million is allocated in this year’s annual plan to support drinking water safety upgrades, improve our wastewater treatment infrastructure and address flood risks in our district.
“Government has been clear that the expected outcome of these reforms is the amalgamation of water and wastewater assets and services into multi-regional entities across New Zealand. While we recognise that a lot has changed in the water regulatory environment, for a district like Kāpiti that has invested heavily in these areas and is very well placed because of it, we need to be front and centre in this conversation.
“Our participation in this initial stage does not commit us to future phases of the reform programme, or to establishing new entities or transferring our assets – now or in the future. It gives us a seat at the table, together with our central and regional counterparts, to advise and work through what these changes would mean for our ratepayers and consider what would work best for Kāpiti. We hope Government continues to approach these reforms collaboratively and would be concerned if any mandatory changes were introduced.
“The aim of the reforms - improved national-level leadership, risk management and environment outcomes – are all objectives we wholeheartedly support but our view at this stage is that aggregation of water suppliers is not necessary to achieve this or deliver better outcomes for our people.
“Initiatives like creating a new regulator, enforcing national standards and implementing a co-investment model between local and central government could be equally transformative.
“We can only influence the conversation, however, if we have a seat at the table – which we have agreed to do.”