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Waitomo District Council maintains open-mind about Three Waters Reform

16 Jul 2021, 12:07 PM

Waitomo District Council is maintaining an open-mind about Central Government’s Three Waters Reform programme offering a multi-million dollar support package.

At a Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) conference on Thursday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a $2.5 billion package to ensure local councils are "no worse off”.

The package proposes that Waitomo District Council would receive just over $14m, subject to first satisfying a range of conditions.

The support package consists of two components: $2 billion to ensure councils are "better off" from the restructure, and a $500 million "no worse off" element, to address the financial impact of transferring water assets to the new entities. 

The Government says the funding would support the Three Waters Reform, and focus on other local wellbeing outcomes associated with climate change and resilience, housing and urban design and planning, and community wellbeing. 

Waitomo Mayor John Robertson says he welcomes the assurance no community would be worse off financially through the reforms, but says Council will take its time to look at the financial package being offered.

“The incentive package is not a given. The $14 million allocated to Waitomo comes with conditions, and more detail is needed.” he says.

“The financial incentive is just one piece of this proposed reform. There is plenty more information to be worked through before we have a robust picture of what the final outcome will be.”

John says the reform is the most complex change in local government for 30 years, and so it is important this is a decision that is not rushed.

“We also need to understand this impact alongside the Future of Local Government reform.”

“We will reflect on this once we have clearer detail and we’ll work with the community to gauge their understanding of the need for change and decide whether the benefit is enough for our Council and community.”