Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel says the Government’s announcement that it is making changes to its three waters reforms fails to address one of the key funding concerns raised by local authorities.
“The Working Group’s recommendation that the Crown needs to confirm the size of investment required to address issues of historic degradation of waterways and inequalities in the provision of water services and how it will address the funding required has been ignored,’’ Mayor Dalziel says.
“This is a key issue which the Government has failed to address in any of the rationale for their three waters reforms. The Government should be shouldering some of the costs for addressing these historic decisions and practises.
“Instead, the Government continues to focus on drinking and wastewater infrastructure deficits, while largely ignoring the provision of stormwater services and how they impact on harbours, lakes and streams where stormwater is traditionally discharged.’’
Mayor Dalziel was one of the local government representatives on the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability that made 47 recommendations to the Government on how it could change the Water Services Entities bill to deliver stronger representation, governance and accountability.
The Government today said it would progress almost all of the recommendations in some form.
“There is no question that changes are required to ensure that all New Zealanders receive safe, reliable, and affordable three water services that support good health and sustainable environmental outcomes.
“But I still think there is a significant amount of work that needs doing on the three waters reforms to get the outcomes we all want to achieve,’’ says Mayor Dalziel.
“I plan to bring a report to the 12 May Council meeting outlining where the three waters reforms programme stands now so that we can prepare for the next stage.
“Once the Water Services Entities Bill is introduced to Parliament it will be referred to the Select Committee. We will ask the Select Committee to hold hearings in Christchurch so that the Council and our residents will have the opportunity to make formal submissions on the reform proposals.’’