Water Reform: What next?
Water is a treasure, a taonga.
We all feel passionate about water in all its forms. It is a natural treasure/ taonga. We need it for our health, our homes and our businesses. We love to spend time in it and on it. We need it for our environment.
It is the most valuable resource we have.
Right now, 67 NZ Councils (from the very small to the very big) have been managing water services for their local community. Auckland has given that function to Watercare
Water services account for 1/3 of our forward rates and big chunk of debt and the costs are expected to rise rapidly as we deal with our fast growth. See Part 1 of this blog series for more about the costs on my website.
Many councils are raising concerns over a range of very detailed issues. And rightly so. Some Hamilton councillors have done likewise and I have myself, raised a number of concerns at the many, many meetings and forum I have attended on the city’s behalf. Other Councillors have also been welcome to attend many of those forums.
Our Council has already unanimously agreed to walk alongside the Government. Every Councillor has agreed to that. Our job is not to advocate for the Government’s reforms….. but to give credible, data-based feedback that could shape any final proposals. It is the role of all Hamilton City Councillors to share fact-based information with our community to help inform people and generate discussion. That is what I am focused on doing.
We are focused on considering medium and long-term changes that could deliver faster investment in much needed water infrastructure to enable more homes to be built and more businesses to operate.
We are focused on how our own people will get to have input into the future of our city.
We want certainty that any change WILL deliver lower future costs to water users, and that the water standards and environmental improvements will be delivered.
I personally am also keen to have a joined-up conversation about the Local Government Reform and RMA reforms also on the table. These also have huge potential to change the way councils do their business, and that impacts on all of us.
We all have opinions and I think debate we are having is needed and welcomed. This is not a “popular” issue but I am determined not to shy away from it.
Here is one opinion piece in the LG magazine that I was recently published.
Your views are important to me. I invite you to explore the information provided and share some ideas:
- How can we improve our water services, both at a city level and across New Zealand?
- What are your primary concerns with a bigger entity managing water on our behalf?
- Should councils be shareholders in any new entities?
- Are you prepared to pay the higher costs that will be needed to keep water managed by councils?
- Is the improvement of our river/ lake important to you? How can we improve our local water quality?
- Any other concerns?
Here again is the Department of Internal Affairs Information site.
Or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org