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AboutHe Kōrero mō te Arotake

About Hawke's Bay's Three Waters Review

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Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, Hastings District Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Napier City Council and Wairoa District Council, have been working together to review the current and potential three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) service delivery options for Hawke’s Bay, Te Matau-a-Māui. The Review aligns with all five councils’ shared strategic priority for 2019 to 2022 – water safety, security and planning – agreed by the Hawke’s Bay Leaders Forum in November 2019.

We have been investigating whether there are benefits to developing a region-wide solution to the way we manage drinking, waste and stormwater services (three waters).

As councils, we all share responsibility for ensuring our communities enjoy safe, reliable, resilient and efficient drinking, waste and stormwater services. That’s why it makes sense to work together to ensure the most sustainable solution for the whole region.

Our independent Review of current water services and potential future service delivery options is now complete and is being presented to councils, together with their respective Māori Standing Committees, during August. The Review report will be formally delivered to councils in September and it will then be made public.

The Review has identified regional solutions that deliver three waters services that are safe, reliable and resilient; affordable and effective and supports our urban and rural communities. We identified the need for future water services that build enduring capacity and capability, through a model that enables a meaningful role for Māori. Importantly, we want a solution that that has the significance (or mauri) of water at its heart.

Our Review means we understand current and future challenges for the delivery of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services and our report will also inform us in our engagement with Central Government through the service delivery reform process which is currently underway.

For more information on Central Government reform of three waters, click here

 

Here in Hawke’s Bay, Te Matau a Māui, heightened community expectations about water and water management saw councils give priority to water safety, security and planning from early 2019 and was the impetus for us to commission the independent review now completed.

Because we have worked together to commission an independent in-depth assessment of the issues and options for the future of three waters service delivery across the region, we are in a very strong position to represent the interests of Hawke’s Bay’s communities in the co-design of any future service delivery models with Government.

Going into the Government reform process, we will have already done the work to identify the right solution to our shared challenges, as identified by Government:

• Being able to affordably deliver core three waters infrastructure and services
• Managing increased demand, as our communities and our economies grow
• Maintaining the condition and performance of our three waters services
• Ensuring we have the right capability and capacity
• Ensuring our three waters services are resilient
• Managing the environmental impacts of three waters services; and
• Meeting increasing government standards for risk and compliance.

This means Hawke’s Bay councils can, together, advocate for the very best outcome for our communities.

The New Zealand Government is reforming how drinking water, wastewater and stormwater (three waters) services are delivered across New Zealand. The reforms began in response to the issues identified following the Havelock North drinking water contamination in 2016.

These reforms will have significant implications and challenges for three waters service delivery and councils across the country will need to adapt their approaches to meet the new requirements. The Government has stated “for many smaller councils, there is no clear way forward given the scale of the challenges”. You can find out more about these changes here

Here in Hawke’s Bay, this means change is needed, which requires decisions about how to make sure everyone benefits, and how we make those changes affordable. Achieving the outcome Government wants for our communities will require every council to make substantial investments in infrastructure, systems and people. 

All of Hawke’s Bay’s councils share the challenges of achieving community affordability at the same time as meeting growing demand, developing resilience and improving the performance of three waters services.

That’s why the five councils of Hawke’s Bay came together in 2019 to see whether there are benefits in developing a region-wide solution. Our Review secured Government support and funding of $1.55 million to do this important work. 

The Review will provide independent recommendations on:

  • The effectiveness of existing drinking, waste and stormwater services
  • Alternative service delivery options

The Review was not about freshwater reforms, privatising assets or services or issues such as chlorination. Having said that, the Review will take account of Government’s freshwater reforms and regional environmental outcomes for water.

The Review evaluated current and potential three waters service delivery options for our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater (three waters) services in Hawke's Bay, the skills and expertise we will need, operational considerations, challenges and benefits.

Guiding our review are the following six objectives that were developed and agreed through a series of workshops with council leaders, employees and Māori committee representatives:

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These objectives are further supported by the following principles developed through engagement with our Māori committees

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It is essential that any decisions made by councils needs to be backed up by detailed information and thorough analysis so that councils can fully evaluate all of the options. 

Hawke's Bay’s independent Review of current water services and potential future service delivery options is now complete and is being presented to councils, together with their respective Māori Standing Committees, during August. The Review report will be formally delivered to councils in September and it will then be made public.

Government has then asked us to suspend our programme of work and to consider opting in to the Central Government reform process.

Five possible options were considered. The full independent report evaluating the options and recommending a preferred option is now complete and is being presented to councils, together with their respective Māori Standing Committees, during August. The Review report will be formally delivered to councils in September and it will then be made public.

Please note that Government has asked us to suspend our programme of work and to consider opting in to the Central Government reform process. For more information on the Government reform process, read the FAQs and the Central Government Three Waters Reform tab.

OptionKey detail

Enhanced status quo

Councils would each retain responsibility for all aspects of service delivery and asset ownership, and three waters services staff would remain employed by the councils.

The approach would allow for additional resource and investment in infrastructure to meet changes to three waters regulations.

Regional Shared Services Business Unit

A Shared Services Business Unit (SSBU) would see staff from each council seconded into a single group but continue to be employed by their respective councils. Likewise, assets would continue to be owned by respective councils.

The public would deal directly with councils for three waters matters.

The SSBU would have regional strategic oversight of asset management and infrastructure delivery; and would plan and deliver all the capital and operational works for the region.

Accountability for overall performance would remain with councils and councils would maintain their role as the interface with the community.

 

Asset Management Council Controlled Organisation (CCO)

Council Controlled Organisations are accountable to councils, who determine the objectives for each of these organisations and monitor their performance. The councils are accountable to ratepayers and residents for the performance of the CCO.

Three waters assets would be owned by each respective council.

The CCO would employ its own staff and provide its own support services.

The public would deal directly with the CCO for three waters matters.

A Management CCO would have regional strategic responsibility for network management and asset management strategies and deliver all capital and operational works for the region.

Strategies and plans would be approved by councils and costs would be recovered from each council based on the funding model chosen.

The CCO would be overseen by a Board of Directors and would be accountable to a joint committee of the councils.

Asset Owning Council Controlled Organisation (CCO)

Council Controlled Organisations are accountable to councils, who determine the objectives for each of these organisations and monitor their performance. The councils are accountable to ratepayers and residents for the performance of the CCO.

A CCO would own the three waters assets and would be responsible for investment required for new infrastructure and meeting standards. It would consolidate operational and infrastructure costs to develop economies of scale.

The CCO would employ its own staff and provide its own support services.

An Asset Owning CCO would have regional strategic responsibility for network management and asset management strategies and deliver all capital and operational works for the region. Costs would be recovered directly from customers.

The public would deal directly with the CCO for three waters matters.

The CCO would be overseen by a Board of Directors and would be accountable to a joint committee of the councils.

Sub- National Management CCO

This option considers Hawke’s Bay joining an existing CCO or creating a model that goes beyond Hawke’s Bay.

The intention is that by widening the area covered by the model, there might be savings and efficiencies of scale, however there is no guarantee that the main office would be based in Hawke’s Bay.

The model would operate the same as for the Management Controlled CCO as set out above.

It should be noted that a condition of the government funding for the project is that the public must retain ownership of Hawke’s Bay’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater (three waters) assets.

With Hawke’s Bay’s Three Waters Review currently suspended, our plans for comprehensive community engagement and consultation on the Review recommendations are currently on hold.  We are yet to understand fully how or when Government intends to consult as part of its reform programme. 

The Three Waters Review looks at options for new service delivery arrangements for our three waters services in Hawke's Bay, the scale of investment needed to deliver safe, reliable and affordable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater (three waters) services and the skills and expertise we will need to deliver it.

The Review is not about freshwater reforms, privatising assets or services or issues such as chlorination. Having said that, the Review will take account of government’s freshwater reforms and regional environmental outcomes for water.

The independent Review of current water services and potential future service delivery options is now complete and is being presented to councils, together with their respective Māori Standing Committees, during August. The Review report will be formally delivered to councils in September and it will then be made public.

The Government has then asked us to suspend our programme of work and to consider opting in to the Central Government three waters reform process.

Because we have worked together to commission an independent in-depth assessment of the issues and options for the future of three waters service delivery across the region, Hawke’s Bay is in a very strong position to represent the interests of its communities in the co-design of any future service delivery models with Government. This means Hawke’s Bay councils can, together, advocate for the very best outcome for our communities.


 

For more information, visit the FAQs and news pages.

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