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15 July 2022

Masterton District Council will discuss its submission on the Water Services Entities Bill as part of Three Waters Reform at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday 19 July.

The draft submission is available as part of the agenda for the meeting, available online on the Council website here.

The Council is part of the Communities 4 Local Democracy (C4LD) coalition and supports the C4LD draft submission which disagrees with the policy approach of Government and proposes that the Bill does not proceed in favour of the development of a framework for local authorities to provide their own solutions for meaningful change to Three Waters asset governance and management while retaining ownership of the assets involved.

The Council’s own submission focuses its comments on the provisions of the Bill should it proceed.

The key elements of the draft to be discussed by the Council on Tuesday are that:

  • The Council supports a delay to the Bill in order for the community, stakeholders, and Parliament to understand the full complexities of the proposed system before proceeding with this Bill.
  • Given these complexities, the Council also supports a staged approach to transition, similar to that considered for the Resource Management Act (RMA) reforms.
  • The Councils supports either removal of stormwater from the Bill or a phased transition following further policy work.
  • The Council supports the work of the Three Waters Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability (Governance Group) but remains concerned that there is a significant loss of local voice, including a lack of adequate representation of territorial authority views on the Regional Representation Group.
  • The Council is concerned that affordability of water services does not appear to be a paramount consideration for water service entities (WSEs) and considers that it should be specifically included in the objectives and/or operating principles for the WSEs.
  • The Council does not support the transfer of costs incurred by the Crown to WSEs.

Tuesday’s meeting is public and will also be livestreamed on the Council’s Facebook page, starting at 4pm.