Wellington councillors discuss alternative to Three Waters reform

7:43 pm on 30 September 2021

Wellington City Council is floating the idea of a 'plan B' reform to its Three Waters systems ahead of Government consultation.

Wellington City Councillor Sean Rush

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

But today councillors discussed an alternative plan for managing its water, coined by Infrastructure Committee chairperson, Councillor Sean Rush.

It would see Wellington Water Limited - the trading organisation owned by Hutt and Wellington councils - injected with more assets and control.

Councillor Rush developed the proposal after discussion with other council representatives in the proposed Entity C group for the three water reforms

The purpose of Council's meeting today was not to make a decision on whether it will be opting out of the government's proposed reforms, rather to provide feedback and process ahead to next stages.

Council has agreed there is need to reform its water infrastructure regardless, and doing nothing is not an option.

A report to the council projects household water costs will more than double by 2051.

Currently the average household cost per year is $950, and without reform it's likely to rise to $2440 within 30 years. The report does show the adoption of the government's reform will reduce costs to $1260.

Council today also decided against a local referendum on the reform ahead of its decision in whether to opt out.

Last month Councillors narrowly voted to explore the option of a public referendum in the City on the matter.

Instead, public consultation will take place for the proposed options.

Mayor Andy Foster will pass on councils recommendations on the reform to Government tomorrow.

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