Local Government Minister will have final say on waters
New Zealand may need one to four water entities investing between $120 billion to $185 billion into water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure over the next 30 years.
This week the Department of Internal Affairs published four evidence-based reports, commissioned by the Three Waters Steering Committee, building a case for changing the provision of three waters.
The reports provide detailed evidence, at a national scale, of the challenges communities face under the current three waters arrangements, and the opportunities that result from providing these services in a different way.
According to the WICS Phase 2 report, the scale of the infrastructure investment needed across the country is a much larger than initially thought, with $120 - $185 billion required over the next 30 years.
This would come at a significant cost to communities, raising concerns around affordability for, particularly for smaller rural communities.
The report says New Zealand has an opportunity to achieve efficiencies of around 45 per cent through reform over a 30-year period.
A broader economic analysis carried out by Deloitte shows regions could see an increase in GDP of 0.3-0.5 per cent, an increase in jobs nationally of up to 80 per cent, and better wages to retain current.
Mayor Jim Mylchreest said the reports don’t provide detail around local implications, but they do contain some regional analysis of economic impacts.
“Until our Council receives all of the relevant information, which won’t be for a few more weeks yet, we’re not in a position to say whether or not an alternative future model for delivering water services is appropriate for Waipā,” he said.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta is expected to announce Cabinet decisions on what the Government intends to do with the advice in the coming months.
More information on the Three Waters Reform Programme is available at www.dia.govt.nz/Three-Waters-Reform-Programme.