MAYOR: Keeping a close eye on three waters model for the future

Published: 9 May 2024

You might have seen in the news that Auckland Council has struck a deal with the Government about future investment in three waters infrastructure … so what does that mean for smaller councils like us?

Given the history of recent three waters reforms, it is fair to say that we are very interested in the details of the deal and looking to understand how it might apply to councils other than Auckland.

It’s going to be quite different across the country and each council will need a bespoke solution to ensure their infrastructure meets higher levels of compliance.

We have had some preliminary talks with neighbouring councils about working together in this space because we all want safe drinking water and wastewater treatment. But it is very early days, so nothing to report yet.

There are some good examples of Canterbury councils working well together on other big issues, like Kate Valley (which takes the region’s solid waste) and roading, so we’re all very interested in what the Local Water Done Well model looks like moving forward.

Collaboration and communication are key features of any good relationship and I enjoy my regular catch-ups with local police, where we talk about current and potential issues within our district.

Council will be working with police and NZ Transport Agency during June in a campaign targeting those who drink and drive. Alcohol is a major factor contributing to death and serious injury crashes in our district but some people still get behind the wheel in an impaired state.

You can expect some enforcement action and some education, but at the end of the day you can’t ignore the fact that drinking then driving is not okay.

A recent Council workshop made me pause and reflect on some seriously good work that is being done in our district by passionate groups, many run by volunteers, running assets like rural libraries and swimming pools or services helping newcomers or young people.

We had about $300,000 to grant, though the requests for financial help were double that. We’ve done our best to help as many groups as we can and thank all those who applied for their work in our community.

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