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Hastings keen to have say on Govt 3-waters proposal

water pipes

Public interest in the Government’s proposal to move the management of waste water, drinking water and storm water away from councils continues to increase.

Almost 400 people had completed Hasting District Council's on-line survey and more than 10,000 people had been reached via social media just days into Council inviting input from ratepayers.

The Government’s proposal to reform the delivery of ‘three waters’ would see the ownership and management of  storm water, drinking water and waste water assets transferred to four entities across New Zealand. Hastings’ services would be run by ‘Entity C’, an organisation responsible for 21 council areas.

The Council has until the end of September to request further information on the proposal from Government, and to provide feedback.

To help the community gain an understanding of the Government’s proposal, Hastings District Council has collated the information available to date and shared this via its Council’s website and in print media. The Council also launched a survey on Friday, September 3 to gather community input on the proposal for inclusion in Council’s feedback to Government.

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said decisions on this proposal would have far reaching effects and everyone should ensure their view is heard.

“This affects our people of today and future generations. The region’s mayors believe that there are opportunities to improve water services, however, we have asked Government to consider allowing Hawke’s Bay to continue work that has already been carried out on a regional model.

“We are not convinced that an entity looking after 21 councils, from the top of the East Coast to the top of the South Island, will be able to fulfil the needs of all of those communities and the environment.”

Mrs Hazlehurst said she had been contacted more than daily over the last few weeks by people concerned about the proposal.

“In particular, many want to know what will happen to our assets. Under the proposal, Hastings’ water infrastructure assets valued at more than $1.1 billion would be handed over to the new entity, with the ownership of the entity shared amongst all 21 councils.”

Mrs Hazlehurst said Hastings District Council had requested further information from Government.

“There is a lot we still need to know before any decisions are made, including if and when there will be an opportunity for our communities to be formally consulted; what the cost to residents will be from day one; how the governance structure will work in practice; and how maintenance and new works across such large geographic areas will be prioritised.”

The council’s survey runs until Sunday, September 19. A live-streamed public meeting will be run via the Hastings District Council Facebook page on Thursday, September 16 at 7pm.

“I strongly encourage our community to take an interest in this issue. We need to have a blueprint for the management of our three waters that will ensure the wellbeing of our land, water and people today and into the future while still remaining affordable.”

10 September 2021

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