Community & Environment

Hamilton keeps options open on Government’s reform

Picture of the Waikato River

Hamilton City Council is keeping its options open to get the best outcomes for the city as Government’s Three Waters reform develops.

Council yesterday voted to keep working to influence the shape of the reform programme and ensure services to residents are maintained through any transition.

But Council is also considering options to strengthen its advocacy, including potentially joining political pressure groups or other agencies.

Mayor Paula Southgate said the most recent announcements by Government have confirmed it is committed to a transition timetable but there are still opportunities for the public and Council to shape the detail of any change. It was essential Government clearly understands the needs of metro councils, she said.

“Council has taken every opportunity to provide feedback on Government’s reform programme, and we will continue to do so. Legislation is expected shortly, and there will be full public consultation by Government and by this Council so we can ensure the views of our community are in front of the decision-makers.

“Council has asked staff to look at options to strengthen our voice, whether that is working with neighbouring councils, lobby groups or industry bodies on areas where we have similar views or concerns. At the same time, it’s important Hamilton is free to have an independent voice to advocate strongly for the issues that matter to our city.”

Government has indicated legislation to enable creation of new organisations to manage water services will be available in mid-2022. Council has already committed to consulting with its community when this legislation is available and when timeframes for Government’s select committee process are known.

“This is Government’s reform. We are working to get best outcomes for Hamilton but Government is the decision-maker.”

At yesterday’s Council meeting, Council received a staff report, noted confirmation of Government’s announcements and development of a national transition unit to implement the reforms, and confirmed staff will respond to and liaise with Government to influence outcomes for Hamilton.

Staff will also report back to Council with options concerning strengthening political advocacy regarding the Three Waters proposal, which may include the option of joining political advocacy groups.

The vote was 9-4. For: Mayor Paula Southgate, Councillors Bunting, Macpherson, Hamilton, Thomson, Gallagher, Donovan, van Oosten and Pascoe.
Against: Deputy Mayor Taylor, Councillors Wilson, Naidoo-Rauf and O’Leary.

The full report to the meeting and minutes are available on hamilton.govt.nz/agendas.

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