Council’s Three Waters community conversation underway
We’d like to have a conversation with the Western Bay community about Three Waters reform.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council is keen to hear people’s ideas on what "good" looks like from a governance and accountability perspective when the reform kicks in from 2024.
From 1 July 2024 the management of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater will be transferred from 67 councils to four public-owned entities after Government mandated its Three Waters reform for all councils, rejecting the option to make it voluntary.
Council CEO John Holyoake says while Government’s mandate decision may be a bitter pill to swallow for some, the focus must move to providing feedback on critical aspects we can help influence.
Councils nationwide have raised a number of concerns about the proposed representation, governance and accountability arrangements for the new entities.
To address these concerns Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has established a working group of council and iwi representatives tasked with recommending strengthened governance and accountability arrangements for the Three Waters Reform Programme. The other critical issues for councils, including rural water schemes and integration with the planning system, will also be worked on with the sector.
The Working Group will report back to Government in March 2022, which ensures there is time for the advice and recommendations to inform the final entity design.
“Whether you support Government’s decision or not it is important that together we shift the conversation to the outstanding issues the working group will be discussing and providing recommendations to Government on.
“Throughout this reform process we have remained committed to having a conversation on the reform. This has not changed.
“While the option to opt in or out is no longer available we still want to offer the opportunity for the community to express their ideas on the governance structure and provide useful information to the working group.”
This means thinking about:
- who makes what decisions?
- who should be responsible for running the entity?
- who should be responsible for setting the direction of the entity?
- how can local communities influence the direction?
- how should the interests of mana whenua be reflected?
There are three ways you can join in on the conversation and give feedback. We will collate this information and send it to Government's working group for consideration.
- Visit our website and post your ideas on our digital pin board, and rank the potential Governance and Accountability outcomes in order that are most important to you (1 being most important and 9 being least important) www.haveyoursay.westernbay.govt.nz/three-waters-reform
- Share your ideas on one of two virtual sessions on Thursday 9 December (7-8pm) and Friday 10 December (12-1pm). Both sessions will have Council staff and Councillors listening to your ideas. To register for one of the online sessions follow the prompts at www.haveyoursay.westernbay.govt.nz/three-waters-reform by Friday 3 December
Feedback submitted via the website closes Friday 3 December.
Visit www.haveyoursay.govt.nz/three-waters-reform for more information.