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Council considers options following Central Government water announcement

In response to the recent announcement from the Coalition Government regarding the repeal of the Three Waters legislation, Buller District Council discussed the recently released advisory in a public workshop yesterday. Amongst the changes identified was a new provision of deferring the council’s 2024-2034 Long-Term Plan.

The affordable waters legislation will be replaced by a new policy, Local Water Done Well, which will restore ownership and control of water services to council, as well as the responsibility for service delivery. It is expected to come into full effect in mid-2025.

The repeal of the legislation outlines some key things that council will need to consider in the coming weeks and months, e.g. a Regional Council controlled organisation (CCO) and how a financially sustainable plan can be given to Central government within the next 12 months.

Initially, councils around the country were given the option of a three-month Long-Term Plan (LTP) extension.

This was based on the impact that the repeal of the affordable waters legislation could have on the long term planning process, however, the new legislation is provides an option of deferral of the LTP by 12 months, which would require council to have an enhanced Annual Plan for the 2024-2025 financial year.

Councillors now face the challenge of navigating the greatly changed water landscape, balancing the cost of improvements with affordability for Buller residents – the district has a notably small ratepayer base.

A resolution is due from full council by 30 April 2024, outlining which option will be chosen, and Council will consider this formally in the near future.

 

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