Hamilton city councillors have discussed an independent report recommending three Waikato councils establish a jointly-owned public company to manage water infrastructure.
The report was commissioned by the Waikato Mayoral Forum and was discussed at a public workshop by Hamilton city councillors today. It recommends that Waipa District, Waikato District and Hamilton city councils undertake a detailed business case on forming a council-controlled organisation (CCO) to manage water.
Today the report’s lead author Peter Winefield said in his view, the status quo in terms of managing water and wastewater in the future was “not an option for the these three councils, at least not one that makes sense for ratepayers or helps provide resilience for the region.”
“Water and wastewater are critical public services and councils do need to line up their strategic thinking and their planning in this area,” he said.
“There are very strong signals from central government that the management of water infrastructure needs to change and that councils nationwide must consider economies of scale. That is even more compelling here given the forecasted population growth in the three council areas.”
Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker said today that Hamilton city councillors would all be seeking much more information before committing to a business case.
“While we have received an independent report, it’s important our councillors have ample opportunity to really thrash out all of the issues it raises. We need to have a very open and robust discussion about this. “
A decision by Hamilton City Council on whether or not to commission a business case will not be made by full Council until June. The other two councils will make their decisions independently.
The full report discussed at the workshop today is publicly available at www.mpdc.govt.nz/index.php/councillors-mayor/waikato-mayoral-forum.