Submission Single Wairarapa DC
C/- Hutt City Council
Private Bag 31912
Lower Hutt 5040
3 May 2017
Local Government Commission
PO Box 5362
To whom it may concern
Submission on the Proposal for a Single Wairarapa District Council
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the proposal to establish a single Wairarapa District Council.
The Wellington Water Committee (the Committee) has considered the proposal from a three waters perspective and consulted with the three Wairarapa Councils involved. The Committee’s thoughts and feedback are outlined below.
The Wellington Water Committee comprises the Mayors and Councillors of Porirua City Council, Hutt City Council, Upper Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council. These Councils are all shareholders of Wellington Water.
In March 2017, the Wellington Regional Water Forum (which comprises Wellington Water’s shareholding Councils plus the three Wairarapa Councils and the Kapiti Coast District Council) met to discuss the Local Government Commission’s (LGC) report called “Analysis of the Three Waters in the Wellington Region.”
The forum also heard the new Minister of Local Government’s views on her portfolio. It was encouraging that the Minister expressed her support for shared services and increasing collaboration across Council boundaries, where it is in the interests of the local community.
The report encouraged collaboration between Wellington Water and the wider region (including the three Wairarapa District Councils) to work together on common issues.
With increasing pressure on all water businesses in New Zealand (ie the Inquiry into Havelock North Water Supply Contamination) we could all be better placed by working closer together (in this case Wellington Water sharing its knowledge with a single Wairarapa District Council’s water function).
It makes sense when considering a single Wairarapa District Council, to consider how it might work with ‘like-minded’ water businesses near-by, in the interests of providing better value to ratepayers. This submission promotes increased collaboration across the wider region, which will be aligned with the Three Water Plan that the Wellington Regional Water Forum will report back to the LGC by 1 July 2017.
The Wellington Water Committee looks forward to discussions about how shared interests could be advanced in the three waters space, including looking at how a single Wairarapa District Council’s water function could work with Wellington Water to deliver more efficient and effective outcomes for ratepayers. Wellington Water is already providing some support to South Wairarapa District Council.
We would like to see the proposal better consider options for the most efficient and effective way of delivering three waters services in the Wairarapa and encourage further thought on this before deciding how a single Council could be set up and how it would operate.
Options for working closer could be a light touch approach, providing project support, through to more substantial management on behalf of Councils, capability building, training and lending a hand with significant projects (ie asset management).
If a joint working relationship of some sort was to be formalised between Wellington Water and a single Wairarapa District Council then an assessment of the impact on both organisations would be necessary, as it could affect both their business models.
The Committee welcomes the opportunity to discuss options for how Wellington Water could work together with a single Wairarapa District Council.
Deputy Mayor David Bassett
Chair, Wellington Water Committee