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$136.9 million to ensure clean drinking water

5 May 2005

Budget 2005 $136.9 million to ensure clean drinking water in NZ

A government fund totalling $136.9 million (exclusive of GST) is to be established to help improve drinking water systems in New Zealand communities, Associate Health Minister Pete Hodgson and Local Government Minister Chris Carter announced today.

"Waterborne disease is estimated to cost the New Zealand economy about $15 million a year. To avoid this, drinking water standards continue to be raised and the new money announced today will help council and private water providers meet those standards," Pete Hodgson said.

"The Labour-Progressive Government believes communities should have access to good quality drinking water no matter where they live," Chris Carter said.

"For this reason we are establishing a Drinking Water Subsidy Fund that will provide funding to councils and other water suppliers for technical advice and direct capital assistance with upgrading water systems. This is funding that would otherwise have come from rates or water charges, and will be of particular help to many rural communities "

The new fund will set aside an average of $13.7 million (exclusive of GST) a year for ten years. Local authorities and other water suppliers will be able to apply to it for help, and assistance will be determined by a set of criteria agreed with local authorities and water suppliers.

"This fund is the third in a trilogy of funds totalling $276.4 million established by the government to ease the burden of basic infrastructure demands on New Zealand communities and ratepayers," Mr Carter said.

A similar fund totalling $133.3 million was established in 2003 to help councils pay for sewerage systems, and a $9.8 million fund was established last year to help communities cope with and position themselves for rising tourist numbers.

ENDS

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