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‘Hutt City Council commits to developing regional plan for water reform’

Hutt City has voted unanimously to join forces with other councils in Wellington on a plan to reform the region’s broken water services.

This month, councils across the Wellington region will consider a proposal on a joined-up approach to develop a new affordable and sustainable water delivery model.

Hutt City was the first to commit to this approach at a Council meeting held today (6 March).

Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says councils in the region are facing challenges to meet the significant level of investment needed for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

“Across the region, we are facing up to the effects of historic underinvestment and ageing infrastructure in our water networks. The level of investment needed is simply not possible under the current model which limits council’s borrowing power, leaving today’s ratepayers with big rate hikes if we don’t introduce a new model.

“This is a regional and nationwide problem. By working together we are more likely to find effective solutions.”

“We need to be acting with urgency. Any delay simply makes the problem and cost get bigger.”

The Government’s new Local Water Done Well policy is still under development, but indicates that by mid-2025 councils will be required to come up with a water service delivery plan that meets regulatory and investment requirements.

Councils across the Wellington region will consider signing a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at meetings over the coming weeks. The MoU will create a non-binding partnership between councils to work together on a water service delivery plan.

Other councils across the region will consider the MoU at upcoming meetings this month.

Notes to the editor:

Under the MoU, one elected member from each council will sit on an Advisory Oversight Group (AOG) for the joint water service delivery plan process, alongside iwi/Māori partner representatives.

The AOG would be chaired by an independent expert, and supported by Chief Executives and a joint project team. It would not be a formal joint committee or have any decision-making rights.

 

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