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Last modified: 29 Oct 2021 10:38am

A persons hand holding an almost full glass under a running sink tap

Selwyn District Council is extremely disappointed that the Government has made the decision to force councils to become part of their new Three Waters reform entities.

At its meeting on Wednesday 27 October - soon after the announcement - the Council passed a motion to express its ‘extreme disappointment’ at the decision to remove the opt-out option.

The Council entered into the reform process after the Government committed to giving councils a choice about opting in or out of any proposed new entity, Mayor Sam Broughton says.

Mayor Broughton previously led South Island Mayors in calling for a pause in the water reforms to allow a partnership approach and alignment with other major reforms, as well as to allow communities to have their say.

He shares the views of many of his fellow mayors that the u-turn by the Government has not reflected the good faith in which councils have entered into the process.

“Based on that assurance, we committed to consult with our communities before making any decision – that opportunity has now been stripped away from us,” Mayor Broughton says.

The move to mandate the reform was signalled by the Government despite growing public opinion against the proposals.

In anticipation of this decision the council has been working with other South Island councils and Ngāi Tahu to influence the Government’s proposed South Island entity to keep it focussed on local priorities. “The Government has conceded that it needs to resolve some key concerns we have raised about governance and accountability and we will now press into that,” Mayor Broughton says.

The Government will now set up a set up three separate working groups to address these elements of their reform model.

“Selwyn does not face many of the issues the Government is seeking to address with its reforms. Our water networks are relatively new and well-maintained and the costs for our residents are some of the lowest in the country.

“Ensuring Selwyn receives benefits through reform and doesn’t just pay twice to improve others’ systems on top of our own is an ongoing concern – and I simply do not believe that mandating this model is the best solution for Selwyn.”

The Council will continue advocate strongly to ensure Selwyn communities have access to safe, high quality water and wastewater services and that future improvements are continually delivered.

“We will take every opportunity to influence decisions to ensure Selwyn residents continue to receive the benefit of some of the best water services in the country.”

You can find more information on the proposed three waters reforms and how they will impact Selwyn on our three waters reform page.