Monday, February 26, 2024

Three Waters to go early next year, govt says

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New regime will ‘recognise the importance of local decision-making and flexibility for communities and councils’.
The bill received 88,383 submissions.
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The government will repeal and replace Labour’s controversial Three Waters legislation by early next year, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says. 

Brown said the cabinet has agreed to introduce and pass legislation that will restore council ownership and control of water assets to “give much needed clarity to the local government”. 

“It’s clear the previous government’s approach of removing community control of water assets and prescribing co-governance was hugely unpopular and proposed a one-size-fits-all approach to water services delivery. 

“We are committed to addressing the water infrastructure challenges that are jeopardising our nation’s health and prosperity and driving up costs for households across the country,” he said.

Brown said the coalition government will implement a new regime that recognises the importance of local decision-making and flexibility for communities and councils to determine how their water services will be delivered in future. 

“We will do this while ensuring a strong emphasis on meeting rules for water quality and long-term investment in infrastructure.”

Brown said they had listened to calls from mayors around the country for swift action and clarity. Specific provisions in the Bill will address the immediate challenges faced by councils who are currently preparing their 2024-2034 long-term plans under the previous government’s settings, by providing flexibility in setting plans. 

“The Bill will also disestablish the previous government’s Northland and Auckland Water Services Entity, ending any remaining costly and unnecessary activity involved in setting up this body.

“I am writing to mayors and council chief executives today informing them of our decisions on the way forward, including key principle of the government’s Local Water Done Well policy, which has now started for further development, with key decisions planned for early next year.”

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