Sunday, July 25, 2021
Times of Georgia
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More Information Needed On Water Reform


Mayor Rehette Stoltz says more consideration is needed to
fully understand the information provided by Government on
the proposed three waters reform.

Government is
proposing to establish four publicly-owned water services
entities to provide storm water, wastewater and drinking
water services across the country.

The proposal
includes Tairāwhiti with districts in the eastern and lower
North Island including Hawkes Bay, lower parts of the
Manawatū-Whanganui and Wellington regions, as well as the
local authorities at the top of the South Island (Tasman,
Nelson and Marlborough).

Mayor Stoltz said Council
requires more detail on the proposal before a decision can
be made, including whether being part of the reform is
optional.

“What the Government is telling us is that
if we don’t opt into this reform, ratepayers in
Tairāwhiti will be paying up to $8690 each per year for
water services, compared with $1260 if we do opt in,” she
said.

“We need to understand how Government arrived
at these numbers, so we’ve got some work to do to know the
rationale that was applied.

“Our water
infrastructure is a priority in our 2021-31 Long Term Plan
and the Government figures don’t take into consideration
the investment we’re making here.”

Without reform,
the Government estimates the country would need between
$120bn and $185bn of investment into water
services.

“Together with our treaty partners and
wider community, we need to understand the impact these
reforms will have on our people in the long-term. The
dashboard gives a set of numbers, but there’s a bigger
picture we need to
consider.”

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