In response to the article by Cr Elliott on the issue of water services privatisation on the KC News website, Local Government NZ’s CEO Malcolm Alexander was invited by Mayor Guru to comment and his piece is here.
It also covers local government funding, but as the cost of water — and its quality — is an even bigger issue in Kapiti, that part of the article is below — and reproduced verbatim: exactly what “Mandatory aggregation is not consistent with aggregation.” means, we know not.
Mr Alexander says the Government is in the middle of a review of Three Waters regulatory settings and service delivery models following the Havelock North Inquiry.
“LGNZ is currently liaising with the Government through a Reference Group and is providing advice and a sounding board to officials as they develop high level policy options which will be considered later this year. Our involvement in this process does not signify support for some of the options being considered. Indeed it is part of a strategy to ensure as best we can that unsound options are rejected early.”
Mr Alexander says LGNZ has said publicly that it supports changes that will deliver demonstrably safe drinking water.
“A key failure of the past was an inadequate enforcement regime. LGNZ agrees with the Inquiry that a more credible enforcement regime is required and on this basis an independent drinking water regulator (this role would move from the Ministry of Health) appears to have merit,” he says.
The Inquiry recommended also that council waters service delivery be aggregated into large delivery units. LGNZ’s present position is to oppose mandatory aggregation. LGNZ presently considers that once the regulatory outcomes are specified, councils should be free to decide how best they wish to achieve those outcomes (this approach is consistent with localism). Mandatory aggregation is not consistent with aggregation.
Mr Alexander says LGNZ will be polling councils shortly to ascertain their positions on regulation and aggregation. This response will assist LGNZ to develop a final position.
“Regarding the privatisation of water assets, the Government has made it very clear that continued public ownership of water assets will continue.”