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What would the changes mean for you?He aha te pānga o ngā panonitanga nei ki a koe?

Who would deliver my three waters services?

NZ Regional Map HB

Source: Department of Internal Affairs

If you currently receive your three waters services from your local council, from mid-2024 those services would be provided by a new water entity - currently known as ‘Entity C’. ‘Entity C’ organisation would be providing services for the entire area shown here.

When would this happen?

From 1 July 2024. Until then, your council would continue to provide your three waters services as they do now.

Would I still have to pay for three waters services once the new entity takes over?

Yes. The new entity would bill you directly.

What would I pay?

Under the new system, Government has projected that over the next 30 years the costs would look like this.

COSTS FOR THREE WATERS SERVCICES WITH AND WITHOUT REFORM (per household)
Council Without reform (2051) With reform (2051)
Central Hawke's Bay District Council $7260 $1260
Hastings District Council $4530 $1260
Napier City Council $2540 $1260
Wairoa District Council $8690 $1260

Source: Department of Internal Affairs

However, there is currently no indication of what your three waters services would cost from 1 July 2024.

Once three waters services were no longer the responsibility of my local Council, would my rates go down?

If you receive water and/or wastewater services from your council, then you should expect that your council rates would reduce when three waters services were no longer the responsibility of the Council.

Would my council rates go down by the same amount as I pay to the new entity for my three waters services?

Not necessarily, because:

  • The new entity would set its own fees and charges which may be different to what your council was previously charging
  • Costs are increasing for councils across all services – it is likely that the amount your council needs to fund all of the other services that it provides will increase and this will be reflected in your rates
  • There are some costs that councils currently incur in providing three waters services that wouldn’t transfer to the new entity. These are costs such as support services, rent, electricity and other overheads. These are called “stranded overheads” or “stranded costs”. Councils would get some funding from the new entities to cover these stranded costs, but only for the first two years. In some cases, the funding may not cover all of the stranded overheads a council may have, and so the difference may need to be added to council rates.

How would my interests be heard and represented to the new water services entity?

The water services entity’s Regional Representative Group (RRG) would have responsibility for representing the views of local communities.

For the Water Services ‘Entity C’ RRG, there would be 6 to 7 council representatives representing 21 councils and 6 to 7 mana whenua representatives representing all iwi across the East Coast of the North Island, the top of the South Island and the Chatham Islands. This means it is possible that Hawke’s Bay’s councils and mana whenua could have no direct representation on Entity C’s RRG.

The water entities would be required to directly consult with their customers, residents and businesses on their investment priorities, prices and charges through their council and through other consumer and community interest forums.

Who would I call if something went wrong with my service?

Once the new water services entity is operating, it would be responsible for service calls, in the same way that your local council currently is.

What would happen to my council if it was no longer responsible for three waters?

Your council would continue providing all of the other services it currently delivers. This includes things like roading, parks, housing, libraries, pools, alcohol licensing, dog control, building consents, resource consents, environment health, support for business, and so forth.

It is important to note that the Government has initiated a Review into the Future of Local Government which could see changes to the way local government operates in future.

How much would my council get in support funding?

Government has announced a funding package to support councils through the transition to the new arrangements and to cover the costs and financial impacts that councils would incur because of the reforms.

Government’s $2 billion package has been pre-allocated to councils and is available in two tranches. The first $500 million of Crown Funding is available from 1 July 2022 and the remaining $1.5 billion is available from 1 July 2024.

The ‘Better Off’ financial support package to councils will be funded through:

  • $1 billion of Crown funding
  • $1 billion to be funded by the new Water Services Entities.

The support package is made up of two key components:

  1. A “better-off’ component to enable investment into the future for local government and community well-being, to support the priorities of central and local government; and
  2. A “no-worse-off” component to ensure no council is financially worse off in the short-term following the transfer of their three waters services to the new entities.
SUPPORT PACKAGE FUNDING
Council Better-off component No-worse-off component
Central Hawke's Bay District Council $11m $1m
Hastings District Council $35m $5m
Napier City Council $26m $4m
Wairoa District Council $19m $1m

Source: Department of Internal Affairs

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