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Mayors welcome further information on Government support for three waters

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The five councils of Hawke’s Bay welcome yesterday’s announcement from Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister of Local Government, detailing how the $761m Three Waters stimulus package announced in July will be allocated. Councils have until the end of August to opt-in to a partnership process with Government to reform three waters service delivery arrangements, and by doing so, gain access to the stimulus package.

Today’s announcement provides clarity on the $50m earmarked for Hawke’s Bay. The funding allocation for each council is based on population and land area, along with a top up reflecting the leadership and progress that Hawke’s Bay councils have shown over the last 18 months in exploring reform of three waters arrangements.

Allocation across the region and including the top up is:
• Wairoa District Council $11.04m
• Napier City Council $12.51m
• Hastings District Council $15.36m
• Central Hawke’s Bay District Council $11.09m

If councils decide to participate in the first phase of the Government’s three waters services reform programme, they will each enter into a Funding Agreement specifying what the funding will be spent on and the conditions attached to the funding.

Since early in 2019, Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Wairoa District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have been working together to review the current and potential service delivery options for drinking, waste and stormwater (three waters) for all of Hawke’s Bay. The project aligns with the five councils’ strategic priority for the 2019-22 triennium – water safety, security and planning.

The independent review into Hawke’s Bay’s current water services and potential future service delivery is complete and is being presented to councils and their respective Māori standing committees in August. The review report will be formally delivered to councils in September, and it will then be made public. Government has then asked Hawke’s Bay to hold its programme and to consider opting into the central Government service delivery reform process.

Sandra Hazlehurst, Mayor of Hastings District Council says that Hawke’s Bay is well prepared for the Government reform process.

“The councils of Hawke’s Bay are in a unique leadership position, based on the good work that has been done over the last 18 months. We are in a strong position to represent the interests of our communities in the co- design of any future service delivery models with Government,” says Sandra Hazlehurst.

Alex Walker, Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay District Council says that Hawke’s Bay has already done the work to identify the best solution to the region’s three waters service delivery challenges.

“Affordability, managing demand as the region grows, maintaining the condition and performance of our three waters services and being able to meet new regulatory standards are the challenges we all face,” says Alex Walker.

Mayor of Napier City Kirsten Wise says that ensuring Hawke’s Bay has the right capability and capacity to deliver resilient three waters services and managing the environmental impacts are other key challenges.

“We look forward to the next stage of the process and to sharing the review report after it has been presented to councils,” says Kirsten Wise.

Craig Little, Mayor of Wairoa District Council says participating in the Government’s three waters reform process will benefit ratepayers across the region.

“Being able to access Government funding to help meet the substantial costs for infrastructure improvement means that communities will avoid having to meet all of those costs directly. Alongside this is the need to balance priorities at both a regional and local level.” he says.

“Being able to access Government funding to help meet the substantial costs for infrastructure improvement means that communities will avoid having to meet all of those costs directly.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair Rex Graham is convinced a regional service delivery approach is the best way to ensure all communities, regardless of their size, can meet the standards they need to.

“Water is everything in Hawke’s Bay. We want our future water services to build capacity and capability, that has the significance and importance of water at its heart,” Rex Graham says.

5 August 2020

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