Government has today announced further details of its proposed three waters reforms, which would see responsibility for the delivery of drinking, waste and storm water services removed from local authorities.
Ministers Robertson and Mahuta have detailed Government’s response to the recommendations of the Government-appointed working group and Councils’ shareholdings in the new multi-region entities. Hawke’s Bay Mayors say it is no surprise to see Government adopt most of the working group’s “underwhelming” recommendations.
The reforms, which Government expects to take effect from mid-2024, would see responsibility for Hawke’s Bay’s three waters assets and service delivery transfer to a multi-regional entity responsible for the whole of the East Coast of the North Island, the top of the South Island and the Chatham Islands.
Mayors say the three waters reforms are the most significant changes facing ratepayers and local communities in the last 30 years and threaten the loss of local decision-making over critical water assets and services from Hawke’s Bay’s rural and urban communities. They say it is now time for the people of Hawke’s Bay to get ready to have their say.
Government is committing to ensure New Zealanders are well informed about the case for change and the details of the legislative proposals to assist the public make submissions to the Parliamentary Select Committee. However, Mayors are urging Government to better communicate the legislative timetable quickly, and clear and comprehensive information so that people are well informed to have their say.
Mayors say everyone agrees change is needed to make sure drinking, waste and storm water services are safe, resilient and affordable into the future. However, they remain disappointed Government has steadfastly refused to consider Hawke’s Bay’s own credible proposal for a local alternative that would see responsibility for three waters services staying in the Bay and achieving the very outcomes Government wants from reform.
They say a Hawke’s Bay Water service delivery model offers a credible and sustainable solution ensuring local asset ownership, accountability and decision making. Importantly, it would support regional economic, social and environmental priorities and satisfy community expectations.
Given Government’s determination to push ahead with creating four mega-entities to take over responsibility for water service delivery from councils, Mayors Craig Little (Wairoa District), Kirsten Wise (Napier City), Sandra Hazlehurst (Hastings District) and Alex Walker (Central Hawke’s Bay District) are vowing to throw their efforts into making sure the people of Hawke’s Bay understand what the changes will mean for them and how they can have a voice as the legislation makes its way through Parliament.
They say it is vital that ratepayers and local communities understand how the changes would affect them and how they can have their say through the up-coming Parliamentary Select Committee process, the timing of which is still to be announced.
Mayors say they are committed to advocating for the outcome they believe the people of Hawke’s Bay deserve and they will support their communities to have a voice.
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