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Councils favour Hawke’s Bay alternative to Government’s three waters reform proposal

Our Councils propose a local alternative, saying responsibility for drinking, waste and storm water services should stay in Hawke’s Bay, and that our communities want service delivery kept close to home. 

The leaders of our five Councils (Wairoa, Napier, Hastings, Central Hawke’s Bay and Hawke’s Bay Regional) have written to the Minister for Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, on two occasions during this latest phase of the reform process - once during August 2021, outlining our concerns and again in October 2021, sharing our communities’ feedback and setting out the reasons why the Government’s proposal will not satisfy the three waters service delivery needs of Hawke’s Bay.

Our communities have told us they have a number of concerns with the proposal to introduce four water services entities. These concerns were consistent across Hawke’s Bay and centred around:

  • Whether communities would have sufficient influence over decision-making and investment prioritisation.
  • Whether local communities and tangata whenua would have sufficient voice in representation and governance.
  • Loss of local asset ownership and uncertainties around the funding and transfer of assets and responsibilities.
  • The assumptions and the financial modelling used in the case for change and on which the proposal is based.
  • The lack of meaningful engagement about the reforms with local communities and tangata whenua.
  • Assurances that our communities have their say before decisions are made.

The Hawke’s Bay position

Given our analysis and the concerns our communities have raised, Hawke’s Bay’s preference is for a local, regional three waters service delivery model that would ensure:  

  • Decision-making remains close to our rural and urban communities.
  • A model that best meets our regional investment objectives and principles including better alignment with regional planning and freshwater management
  • We can meet the new water standards set and monitored by Taumata Arowai
  • We meet the expectations of our communities here in Hawke’s Bay.

You can read our letters to the Minister here, and the media releases here. 

15 November 2021 Letter to the Minister

1 October 2021 Letter to the Minister

1 October 2021 Media Release

19 August 2021 Letter to the Minister

20 August 2021 Media Release

Government is proposing that responsibility for Hawke’s Bay’s three waters services would transfer to a regional entity comprising 21 Councils from the East Coast of the North Island to the top of the South Island and the Chatham Islands. Here is a quick guide to Government’s proposals.

Because our region worked together to commission an independent in-depth review of the issues and options for the future of three waters service delivery across our region, we are in a very strong position to represent the interests of Hawke’s Bay through the Government’s reform process. We want the best outcomes for our region.

To recap, our objectives for three waters services across the region are:

   • Services that are affordable and effective
   • Services that are safe, reliable and resilient
   • A model that enables a meaningful role for Māori
   • A model that has the value of water at the centre
   • Three waters services provided in a way that supports our urban and rural communities
   • Three waters services that build enduring capability and capacity now and into the future

  • How, when, or if communities will be consulted.
  • The full impacts of the review on our four councils’ business and the wider community as a whole, i.e.: what stranded costs and services may communities be left with.
  • The full understanding of the detail behind the current proposal, particularly current and future costs.
  • The detail of the accountability mechanisms including:
           - consumer panels
           - zoning
           - direction of growth
           - role in emergencies
           - requirements for delivery of local priorities.
  • Whether the cost saving projections to Hawke’s Bay communities over the 30 years by the new three waters entity are robust.

Government is deciding the final details of the Water Services Entities Bill, and it is likely to be introduced to Parliament in the middle of this year. The public will be able to make submissions soon after that.

Together, Hawke’s Bay’s councils are determined to ensure that our communities understand the full implications of Government’s multi-regional model and to make sure our communities have a voice as the bill makes its way through the Parliamentary process.

Once the final details of the Governments reforms are known, we will start those conversations. 

Any Questions

Contact your local Council

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