Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Councils Advised To Consider Water Company

Media Release – 28 April 2014

Councils Advised To Consider Water Company

An independent report to the Waikato Mayoral Forum has recommended three Waikato councils investigate establishing a jointly-owned limited liability company to manage their water infrastructure.

The report from three independent consultants was presented to the forum today. It recommends that Waipa District, Waikato District and Hamilton City councils undertake a detailed business case on forming a council-controlled organisation (CCO) to manage water.

The publicly-available report also recommends that if any CCO goes ahead, it incorporate a centre of excellence to support all Waikato councils on water issues. A similar centre of excellence for roading has already been established by the Mayoral Forum.

Forum chair Allan Sanson, also mayor of Waikato District, said all three councils were “a long way” from making any decision on a CCO. But it was agreed today that the report would go back to each council for discussion. Decisions on whether or not they would be part of commissioning a business case would be made by all three councils independently.

“We’ve received an independent report from experts in the field. Each council will now consider whether it goes to the next step and is part of commissioning work that will provide us with a far greater level of detail. That’s up to individual councils,” Mr Sanson said.

“Earlier reports have indicated there are $3 - $4 million across the region in short-term savings to be had by working smarter.

“But this report is not just about short-term cost savings, it’s much more complex than that. It’s about building better planning and decision-making capacity, optimising capital and developing a Waikato solution to the specific challenges faced across our region.”

The report’s lead consultant Peter Winefield said the government had made it “as clear as a bell” that councils must change the way they deliver major infrastructure services, particularly water. Coming legislation would encourage more collaboration between councils and would require them to review the way they deliver infrastructure services every three years, he said.

Councils would also be required to develop a 30-year infrastructure strategy, taking into account growth, levels of services needed, major capital expenditure and how that expenditure would be funded.

He said the big advantages of establishing a CCO would not be in short-term savings, but in the ability for councils to manage their assets and the implications of growth in the medium to long-term.

“A specialist, publicly-owned water organisation means you can build capacity around strategic planning for assets, optimise capital expenditure and minimise operational costs for ratepayers. “Having a centre of excellence built into that will also provide a resource for smaller councils to tap into for specialist services and that’s hugely valuable. There’s nothing to stop other councils joining any CCO in the future if that’s what was best for their community.”

Mr Winefield said growth was one of the main drivers behind the recommendation to investigate a CCO for just Waipa and Waikato districts, and Hamilton city.
“Those three councils are geographically aligned and have a number of things in common – including growth. Nearly all of the growth in the region – 92 per cent – is focused in these three council areas.

“That means they face different challenges in terms of the capital they will need to spend on water issues in the future. It’s predicted that over the next 10 years, more than 60 per cent of the total regional water spend – $495 million – will come from those three councils alone.”

Mr Sanson said Hamilton, Waipa and Waikato councils already worked together using a “low-level shared services model” on water conservation, chemical sampling and trade waste services.

“But the report advises that this model is not suitable to meet the significant challenges ahead – including the growth challenges. And previous reports have also indicated, like this one, that savings simply could not be achieved under the current council structures,” he said.

All three councils were likely to hold workshops during May to give elected officials time to go through the report and discuss its findings directly with the independent consultants. Decisions on whether or not to go to the next stage – commissioning a detailed business case – would need to go to full public council meetings, probably in June or July of this year.

The full report is available online at www.mpdc.govt.nz/index.php/councillors-mayor/waikato-mayoral-forum.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Open Source // Open Society - Full Coverage

Gordon Campbell:
On The Reserve Bank And Auckland Housing

The ‘crisis – what crisis?’ response by the government to the Auckland housing price bubble is no longer acceptable.

So says Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer – who used unusually frank language in his speech and subsequent interviews yesterday to call for a capital gains tax, and to generally chastise central and local government for their inaction on a threat to the country’s economic health and financial stability.

That threat has been real for some time. The housing price bubble has already created a currency bubble... Undaunted, the government keeps calling this situation a success story. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Bangladesh: GCSB Dragging NZ Into Human Rights Abuses

The New Zealand government should stop providing intelligence assistance to Bangladeshi security agencies that are known to systematically engage in human rights abuses, said the Green Party today. More>>

ALSO:

Troops Heading To Iraq: Government Must Come Clean On Deployment

New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture of secrecy and unknown protections around the deployment.” More>>

ALSO:

Image: Strikers And Protestors Join Outside McDonald's

A group of protestors took to McDonald’s Manners St today as a part of the international fast food workers day of action to end zero hour contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Special Education Funds Not Spent

More than $32 million of funding for children with special needs has not been spent by the Government, despite families of children with special needs complaining for years that they’ve been denied the support they deserve. More>>

ALSO:

John Key: Pre-Budget Speech To Business NZ

So this Government will remain relentlessly focused on improving the competitiveness of our economy... We will continue to give businesses a platform to invest, grow and create jobs in the knowledge they will be backed by a clear and consistent government policy programme. More>>

ALSO:

Multimedia: Andrew Little’s Response To John Key’s Pre-Budget Address

Labour Party leader Andrew Little spoke today on John Key’s pre-budget address this afternoon in Wellington. Little said National has had seven years to achieve a surplus and Kiwis have “fufilled their end of the bargain.” More>>

Surplus Baggage: Key Backs Off ‘Artificial Target’

John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On UE Pass Rates And University Dropout Rates

Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been especially steep among Maori students and also a problem with (b) the failure rates for Maori students among those who reach university... Unfortunately the two problems seem related. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news