Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Govt sinks Three Waters legislation

Local Government Minister, Simeon Brown says the Coalition Government’s legislative plan to address longstanding issues with local water infrastructure and service delivery took an important step today, with the repeal of the “divisive and unpopular” Three Waters legislation.

Mr Brown said repealing the legislation was a necessary first step in implementing the Government’s Local Water Done Well policy, and a key part of its 100-day plan.

“The vast majority of councils around New Zealand were opposed to Labour’s Three Waters reform, and we are delivering on our commitment to restore local council ownership and control of water assets,” said Mr Brown.

“I am aware that councils are in different stages of completing their long-term plans and some have already begun consultation. With local responsibility for water services restored, the legislation passed today provides much needed flexibility to councils by enabling a range of voluntary options to help them complete and adopt their long-term plans.”

The Minister said two further bills will be introduced this year to progress the Local Water Done Well policy, with the first to be introduced and enacted by mid-2024, and the second introduced in December 2024 and enacted by mid-2025. 

“Local Water Done Well recognises the importance of local decision-making and flexibility for communities and councils to determine how their water services will be delivered in future. We will do this while ensuring a strong emphasis on meeting rules for water quality and long-term investment in infrastructure.”

“We are asking councils to lead the way in developing local solutions to our water services challenges. This includes requiring them to provide water services delivery plans that outline how they will deliver on outcomes for water quality, infrastructure investment and financial sustainability.

“I want to acknowledge mayors and communities across New Zealand who opposed Labour’s centralised and bureaucratic mega-entity model. I now look forward to working with them as we deliver Local Water Done Well,” Mr Brown said.

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