The announcement that Government is offering significant financial packages to councils joining its three waters reform programme will start a “conversation with the community”, says Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst.
Government announced the funding today, with $34.8 million earmarked for Hastings. It is linked to the Government’s proposal to set up four entities across New Zealand to deliver water services: drinking water, waste water and storm water.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the money could be used for initiatives that would improve community well-being, such as housing, urban design, climate change mitigation and community resilience.
Mrs Hazlehurst said Hastings District Council will continue to talk with Government about the proposed three waters reform, and is looking forward to receiving more information.
Hastings had invested heavily in ensuring safe drinking water for all of the district’s communities. Before coming to any conclusion on the Government’s proposed plan, Council would need to be very sure that a high level of service would be maintained, she said. “We must get this right for our community. Regardless of these proposed reforms, providing safe drinking water remains Council’s number one priority.”
“We understand that this reform could provide significant benefit to our people and we will continue to work with Government on the proposal, but we will be having a conversation with our community before coming to any decision,” said Mrs Hazlehurst.
“The proposed Three Water Reform will have long-term implications and there are a lot of questions to be worked through. We need to understand how our community will retain influence over the service, how the delivery model will work, how we ensure new water infrastructure is installed where and when we need it as our district grows, and the intricacies of the ownership model.
“It is essential that we also understand the cost implications of the proposal to households in Hastings.
Mrs Hazlehurst said Council remains focused on getting the very best outcome for Hastings’ communities.
16 July 2021
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