Water company back in spotlight

23 March 2018
Waipa District Council

A proposal for Hamilton City Council and Waipa District Council to join forces to manage water and wastewater is back on the table. 

In December, Waipa rejected a recommendation to form a non-asset owning company alongside the city. But Waipa chief executive Garry Dyet said since then, things have changed. 

"We need to complete the formal consultation process so a further report seeking a final resolution was needed," he said. 

"In the meantime, stage two of the Havelock North report into water has been released. The Havelock report reinforced very clear signals from central government that they want a far more strategic approach to providing water services; there is no doubt about that."

The government is considering water reform and wants councils to form bigger, more robust entities to manage core water and wastewater services. This was reinforced by the Minister of Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta at a function in Waipa earlier this month.

"It's my view that forming a shared water company ourselves, rather than being forced into it, would allow Waipa to have more influence and control over what happens in the future," Dyet said.

He confirmed putting the issue back on the table, had also "in part" been driven by the potential for a Judicial Review of the Council's December 2017 decision. 

"Legal advice has made it very clear that, whatever Council decides to do, elected members must be very clear on the reasons for their decision and this latest report seeks to do that."

The report outlines two options for Waipa's elected members to consider on Tuesday; either not proceed with forming a waters management company at all, or approve the establishment of a company in principle, but subject to conditions.  

Those conditions include having at least two other Councils, as well as Hamilton, also join. Waipa also wants the government to help contribute to any establishment costs.

Waipa councillors will consider both options at a Council meeting next Tuesday.