Three Waters Reform – Whanganui’s questions now with government
Published on September 30, 2021
Whanganui District Council has forwarded questions and feedback to the government about proposed three waters reforms, in time to meet a 30 September deadline.
In late July the government released information about its proposals to councils, including indicative funding packages.
Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall says there was a large amount of information to work through and understand - and councils were given eight weeks to come back to the government with their questions.
“We are very aware of the far-reaching significance of these proposals,” he says. “This is one of the biggest changes proposed for council infrastructure management in decades and we have approached this in a conscientious and serious way.
“Our over-riding concern has been to do our best for Whanganui – for our environment and our people. I would like to assure our community that both councillors and staff have spent hundreds of hours on this material to ensure we are taking the right questions to the government at this time.”
Throughout September, the council provided an opportunity for members of the community to forward their own questions for the government.
These included concerns about community consultation, the governance structure for the proposed new entities, protection of three water assets from future privatisation, how water services would be charged for should the reform go ahead and how the proposed reform aligns with the Te Awa Tupua Act.
Mayor Hamish says, “I would like to thank everyone who provided their questions via our website, or e-mailed to let us know their views. We see that, while some feel the proposed changes would be a good thing, there are many with reservations and they want these signalled to the government.”
During August and September Whanganui District Council:
- continued to evaluate reports and analyse data
- developed questions for the government and shared them with the community
- published information, documents and links on the council website
- livestreamed a detailed report which was presented to the September council meeting
- held a workshop for councillors looking at potential impacts and opportunities for Whanganui.
The council needs answers from the government and wants to see clear, accessible public information, says Mayor Hamish. “We want to get to a position of clarity so that we can formally consult with our community on the proposed changes.”
The next announcement from the government is expected in October.
For information about the Three Waters Reform proposal visit www.whanganui.govt.nz/three-waters-reform