8 Nov 2023

Councils plead for clarity on water infrastructure reform

From Nine To Noon, 9:05 am on 8 November 2023
National Party promises the scrap Three Water if it wins the election

Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

A new government is still to be formed, but councils around the country are urgently wanting direction on what will happen with new policy on water infrastructure.

Wellington Water estimates it would take a billion dollars a year, for the next 10 years, to fully deal with its beleaguered infrastructure.

The former Labour Government had planned for $140b to $180b worth of spending on three waters - that's drinking, storm and wastewater - renewal over the next three decades.

The funds would have been raised by borrowing, by 10 new water entities taking control of council infrastructure around the country.

But the parties now negotiating a coalition deal to become the government have pledged to scrap that. National's plan is for councils to form their new entities among themselves, to raise funds for the work.

It remains one of the most challenging components of many councils financial planning.

Tonia Haskell is acting chief executive of Wellington Water - the company owned by six councils in the wider Wellington region.  

Neil Holdom is Mayor of New Plymouth, and provincial chair of Local Government NZ and Kathryn also speaks with Alex Walker, LGNZ's rural chair.