Council formally commits to consult with public on three waters
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Last modified: 12 Aug 2021 10:10am
Selwyn District Council has formally committed to consult with residents before taking decisions on the Government’s three waters reform proposals.
At its meeting yesterday the Council unanimously passed a motion confirming that it will not agree to transfer any water, wastewater, or stormwater assets to any proposed new entity without undertaking a full engagement and feedback process with the Selwyn community.
Today’s motion was in response to the Government’s proposal to transfer the ownership and management of water services from local councils into the hands of larger public water services entities in a bid to improve water services nationally.
Selwyn would become part of an entity that covers most of the South Island.
Under the reform proposals, a regional representative group of 12 (made up of six local authority and six mana whenua appointees) would appoint an independent selection panel that in turn appoints board members for each entity.
Mayor Sam Broughton says the motion formalises the Council’s intention that the community must be a key part of the process over such a major decision and that its views will be taken into account.
“This is a big decision that will affect everyone in Selwyn. We all agree that we need to ensure good quality, safe services and environment outcomes, but the question is how that is done and will these reforms be better for Selwyn residents.
“Everyone needs to have an opportunity to have their say over the future of their drinking water, stormwater and wastewater.
“Selwyn has put significant funding into developing excellent water infrastructure for our residents, and they have paid for those systems. Putting this on the record gives people extra confidence that the community’s voice will be heard in the decision over their most precious resource.”
The Council is continuing to review information from the Department of Internal Affairs, seeking further information and working with other councils and Local Government New Zealand to understand whether the proposal is in the best interests of Selwyn residents.
The timing of any engagement will depend on cabinet confirming its timeline for the water reforms process and that it will remain optional for communities to opt out of the reforms.
Mayor Broughton says the Council will continue to ensure that Selwyn residents are kept well informed and that the nature of the reforms and their potential effects are explained.
“We are now analysing the information and data provided, so that we can understand the benefits and disadvantages – before putting this to our communities,” he says
For more information on the reforms and the proposed changes for Selwyn please see www.selwyn.govt.nz/threewaters