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Porirua Mayor seeks Government partnership for freshwater management

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Porirua Mayor Anita Baker is calling on the government to work with councils to help manage the financial burden of achieving freshwater quality in their cities.

"For us in Porirua, Te-Awarua-o-Porirua Harbour and its catchment is a tāonga. The health and viability of our harbour is a priority to all of us in the city - Ngāti Toa Rangatira, our residents, businesses and our visitors.

Porirua City Council has just submitted on the government’s Action for healthy waterways: A discussion document on national direction for our essential freshwater, the proposed rules and regulations to improve freshwater management in New Zealand.

"Our Council strongly supports the intent of Action for healthy waterways. We are at the front of the work to restore harbour and catchment ecology, stormwater and wastewater management, and putting controls on silt and sediment, Mayor Baker says.

"However this reform package does not address the practical achievability of these policies and how they are going to be balanced against the management of new housing areas. Porirua is facing significant growth pressure. At only twenty minutes from the Wellington CBD we are effectively the housing growth area for the region. We have 19,000 ratepayers and face rising environmental standards alongside these growth pressures

"We have recently commissioned work that estimates the cost of our three waters infrastructure over the next 30 years sits at around $1billion. Most of this cost sits in the waste water network. This is clearly too high a burden for a small city already facing pressure on its rates."

Mayor Baker says a change in focus is needed for how we view investing in our natural resources if we are to achieve healthy freshwater resources in New Zealand.

"As it is, the cost to upgrade infrastructure to achieve a healthy state is prohibitive for communities the size of Porirua."

Details of the Council’s submission can be found here:  https://poriruacity.govt.nz/your-council/policies-and-bylaws/submissions/#action-for-healthy-waterways-october-2019

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