Sunday, July 25, 2021
Times of Georgia
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LGNZ Welcomes Massive Boost For Community Wellbeing As Part Of 3 Waters Deal


LGNZ President Stuart Crosby has welcomed the
Government’s announcement of a support package for
councils as part of three waters reform, as well as the
precedent the deal creates for an ongoing partnership with
the sector.

He says the $2.5 billion package sets
councils up to focus on community wellbeing.

“The
package ensures no council will be worse off and every
community will be better off under reform, as well as
demonstrating a new way for central and local government to
work together. It reinforces the pivotal role of local
decision making.

“Local government is vital to
delivering wellbeing and the package acknowledges this. It
also provides significant funding for this work, which looks
different in every community.

“This agreement and
package signal confidence in local government as a critical
partner, both for this reform and in the future.

“We
are looking ahead to the Future for Local Government review,
which the Government has committed to partner with us on as
part of this deal.”

Mr Crosby says the
Government’s three waters model, which relies on
significant scale, works best if everyone participates –
and after today’s announcement councils now need to look
closely at the information to understand their
position.

“The key thing for us now is that councils
have the time to work through the package and what it means
for them and their communities. That will be our focus for
the next eight weeks.

“The ‘better off’ part of
package will help councils maintain momentum as they
transition out of water services delivery and focus their
strategy and operations on improving community wellbeing
outcomes.

“The ‘no worse off’ part of the
package includes targeted support so that no councils are
financially worse off when they transfer their assets. This
is designed to protect communities from any negative
financial consequences of councils losing their water
services role.

Over a year ago, LGNZ’s National
Council agreed that the status quo was unsustainable and
agreed to work with the Government on its preferred
model.

The Joint Steering Group, created in mid-2020
to provide feedback on the reform, has shared the sector’s
concerns with DIA and challenged and tested policy as it’s
been developed. This has significantly influenced the shape
of the reform.

The Government’s announcement was
made at the LGNZ conference in Blenheim, attended by almost
700
people.

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