Monday, June 24, 2024

Water services entities Bill passed

Parliament today passed legislation it says will provide stronger foundations for affordable, safe and sustainable publicly-owned water services for New Zealanders.

The Water Services Entities Amendment Bill changes the Water Services Entities Act 2022 to replace four water services entities with 10.

“Under the reforms, households are projected to save up to $2,770–$5,400 per year by 2054 on average, depending on which region they are in,” said Local Government Minister, Kieran McAnulty.

“Moving from water services being run by 67 councils to 10 water services entities means the new entities will have the increased size required to access more funding and improve management of water services. This is how we will ultimately save Kiwi households cash.”

The Minister said the Bill means New Zealanders will get the benefits of the reform and communities will have a say in how the services are run.

“I acknowledge and thank those New Zealanders, including local government and iwi who have assisted in refining these reforms,” he said.

“Importantly, the reforms remove the water-related debt off councils’ balance sheets – relieving councils of the burden of servicing this debt and the need to fund future investment in our water infrastructure. This helps limit future rates increases.

“Feedback from local government has been particularly useful in ensuring this legislation provides the certainty needed for water sector planning and employment, clarity for ongoing transition and implementation activities, and a smooth transition to the new system.”

Passage of the Water Services Legislation Bill and the Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill in the coming days will complete the legislative package for the Government’ Affordable Water Reforms, the Minister said.

“Every ratepayer will be economically better off because of these changes versus doing nothing, keeping more money in the pockets of families,” said Mr McAnulty.

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