The Government’s announcement to repeal and replace the Three Waters reform programme ends uncertainty for the local government sector and many local communities and charts a path towards a long-term and sustainable solution to improving water infrastructure around New Zealand,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Policy Director Michelle McCormick.
“New Zealanders understand that the status quo is not an option.”
“The current system is straining under the demands placed on it, including from climate-related weather events, economic development and population growth. Councils, meanwhile, are struggling to maintain and fund their water services due to significant balance sheet pressure and a lack of borrowing ability.”
“It is encouraging that the Government is seeking to address the challenges councils are facing in the development of their long-term plans. Today’s announcement also indicates the new Government recognises the need for councils to unlock increased borrowing capacity to renew their ageing water networks and for communities to retain influence over their local assets.”
Infrastructure New Zealand urges the Government to pursue council balance sheet separation as part of the new model to ensure long-term sustainable funding of our water networks.
“A reform programme that can unlock the investment and resources needed to improve our water assets is critical to the long-term health and prosperity of New Zealanders and our environment.”
“As with all major infrastructure programmes, the infrastructure sector requires certainty to successfully address the three waters needs of our communities. This allows it to invest in the expertise, skills and capabilities required, so the clarity provided by the Government’s plans today is really important,” McCormick says.
“Infrastructure New Zealand now hopes all parties, including central government, local government, iwi and the infrastructure sector to come together around the table and do what is best for our catchments and communities across New Zealand.”