NZ Govt urged not to delay water services reform

Water New Zealand says it is important that the legislation paving the way for new water services entities is not delayed.

Water New Zealand says it is important that the legislation paving the way for new water services entities is not delayed.

Chief Executive Gillian Bythe and President Helen Atkins told the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee that the Association supports the intent of the Water Services Entities Bill to provide equitable access to safe, reliable, and affordable water services.

After speaking in support of Water New Zealand’s submission on the legislation, Blythe said that it is important not to lose sight of the need to improve water service delivery in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

“We must remember that it’s been six years since the Havelock North water contamination event. The subsequent inquiry found ‘’widespread systemic failure” among water suppliers to meet safety standards.”

She says the water reforms, including the Water Services Entities Bill, go a long way to addressing the systemic safety concerns.

“This is a transformative piece of legislation. Improvements to better support the Bill’s intent can be made without delaying the passing of the legislation.”

Water services reform vital for community and environment

Atkins says the terms of reference and scope of the new economic regulator will be important to ensure the wider community’s needs. The environment remains at the forefront of the new delivery system.

“It is also important that the legislation ensures the appropriate level of expertise on the new entity’s boards. That includes knowledge and experience of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and mana whenua perspectives. They also need performance monitoring, governance and appropriate water experience.

“The Three Waters sector has suffered from long-term under-investment in infrastructure and workforce capability. There is a risk of a continuing investment hiatus during the transition period.

“We must ensure that the sector has the confidence and ability to upgrade and innovate during this time.”

Water New Zealand acknowledges that our members hold a variety of views concerning water reform, including this Bill. Some of our members have strong and varied opinions regarding governance and representation. For this reason, we do not comment on the representative framework but on technical excellence in delivering safe and environmentally appropriate water infrastructure and services.

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