Monday, February 26, 2024

Ashburton seeks voice on Three Waters

Ashburton District Council has voiced its opposition to the Government’s Three Waters reforms in a submission to the Water Services Entities Bill.

Ashburton Mayor, Neil Brown and Chief Executive, Hamish Riach, have signed Council’s submission and asked to speak to the Parliamentary select committee due to hear submissions.

Mayor Brown said the local community had been clear about wanting to have its say on how water services were provided.

“We are concerned that the reforms, as they are currently proposed, would mean the loss of a strong local voice,” said Mayor Brown.

“It is critical that Ashburton and Canterbury have strong and clear mechanisms to ensure local perspectives are heard and considered by the new entity.”

He said that under the proposed reforms, Ashburton would be part of an entity that covers most of the South Island.

Council wants to see the reform process paused for up to five years to let the new regulator Taumata Arowai settle in, and to see how readily Councils met their obligations and responsibilities.

Mayor Brown said Council managed 12 drinking water supply schemes in the district, and provided water to about 70% of residents.

“We are concerned about many things in this proposed reform, including the future costs of three waters services for our ratepayers and how the new entity will follow our planning and land development ambitions.”

“We want to keep a level of control over water assets that we have built up and invested in wisely over the years,” he said.

Read Council’s submission here.

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