Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Reports show need for improved water service delivery

Reports show need for improved water service delivery by councils


Media Statement
14 April 2014

“The recent release of the Ministry of Health’s Annual Report on Drinking Water Quality and a stormwater report commissioned by the Auckland Council provide two further reminders of the need for better scrutiny and accountability in meeting drinking water, wastewater and stormwater standards in New Zealand,” says CEO of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development Stephen Selwood.

“While freshwater issues have succeeded in penetrating the public debate, leading to a number of positive initiatives including the Land and Water Forum and the Land Air Water Aotearoa monitoring website, these reports highlight immediate issues of urban water service quality and accountability which are not receiving the attention they deserve.

“Pleasingly, Local Government New Zealand is leading a project to create a nationwide data framework for water infrastructure which seeks to share best practice, reduce costs and adopt innovative practices in water service delivery. This work needs to be completed with urgency, but ultimately requires a national discussion and Government buy-in to overcome the size of the challenge.

“Consistent with the previous study in 2011/12, the Ministry of Health’s latest report reveals, once again, quite serious problems with drinking water in areas serviced by smaller providers. Just 22 per cent of residents living in ‘small’ water zones of 101-500 people and 37.8 per cent of those in ‘minor’ zones of 501-5000 people received drinking water that met all national standards.

“That performance can be compared to ‘large’ zone populations above 10,000, where drinking water met standards for 86.7 per cent of residents.

"The New Zealand Herald today reported that stormwater performance may in some cases be even worse. Around $10 billion is required to fix Auckland’s stormwater system over the next 50 years. In the meantime, runoff from homes, roads and gardens will continue to pollute many popular swimming, food collection and coastal activity areas.

“Both reports provide revealing insights into the reasons why and how New Zealand’s urban water sector is the worst performing infrastructure category identified in the National Infrastructure Plan 2011.

“But they also suggest potential benefits of scale and specialisation in the provision of water services.

“Auckland’s water supply and wastewater services are delivered under a single, vertically integrated provider able to leverage economies of scale to improve strategic capacity, focus and implementation.

“Watercare is, however, unique in the New Zealand context, being empowered through legislation, resourced through metered water charges and directly accountable to deliver water supply and wastewater services.

“As a result, Auckland performs strongly across indices such as water supply. But in a related service activity such as stormwater, where responsibility and accountability is diffused within the council structure and where resourcing is an annual competition for limited funds with transport, parks and other activities, performance is much less exemplary.

“Whether or not stormwater can and should become a function of a dedicated three waters agency like Watercare is unclear, due to the “unpriceable” nature of stormwater provision. What is demonstrable is that specialised agencies delivering water services at scale are generally more effective than distributed models with complex governance arrangements.

“Such was the finding of the Government-appointed Local Government Infrastructure Efficiency Expert Advisory Group and a 2012 report by PWC and GHD commissioned by NZCID and Water NZ.

“It’s positive to see reporting now catching up with performance, but if New Zealand is to really lift its game in the water service sector, a closer look at structures and resourcing models will be required,” says Selwood.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gaza.Scoop: UNRWA School, Ambulances Attacked - Gaza MOH

The Ministry of Health Gaza expresses its horror and outrage at the latest Israeli massacre moments ago at an UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons in Beit Hanoun. Ten people have been killed and there is a large number of wounded. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Gaza And Burning The Israeli Flag

One of the selling points in New Zealand’s campaign for a temporary seat on the Security Council is that we have a pluckily independent voice to offer on international conflicts.

This image is not entirely self-delusional. When we did occupy a temporary UN Security Council seat in the 1990s, New Zealand was forthright about the need for the international community to actively respond to the Rwanda genocide. On April 14, 1994, New Zealand, Nigeria and the Czech Republic were the only nations to call for a forceful UN intervention to halt the killings. It was a proud moment in the diplomatic record of the Bolger government.

What then, is the current National government doing with respect to the slaughter in Gaza? More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Minister Told Of FBI Investigation, Says INZ: Coleman Must Quit Or Be Sacked Over Dotcom Case - Harré

Immigration New Zealand has done the right thing in distancing itself from Jonathan Coleman’s claims that ministers were not aware of FBI involvement in Kim Dotcom’s residency application, says the Internet Party. More>>

ALSO:

Valedictory Season: Maori Party Founders Say Goodbye

Two major Maori MPs gave there farewell speeches to Parliament Thursday outlining their history, experiences, triumphs and regrets. More>>

ALSO:

Resignation Not Accepted: Transport Minister Breaches Aviation Security Rules

"Running late for a plane at Christchurch Airport, I without thought breached airport and airline security rules by entering the gate lounge through a door usually used for exit only..." More>>

ALSO:

TAIC Report: Urgent Recommendations After Melling Rail Accident

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has made four urgent recommendations to KiwiRail following the accident two months ago (27 May) when a Matangi passenger train collided with a stop block at Melling Station, Lower Hutt. More>>

ALSO:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

EPA: Board Of Inquiry Rejects Basin Flyover By Majority Of 3 To 1

The independent Board of Inquiry delegated to decide on the Basin Bridge Proposal has, by a majority decision (3 to 1), cancelled the Transport Agency’s Notice of Requirement and declined its resource consent applications for the construction, operation and maintenance of a flyover on State Highway 1 in Wellington City... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news