Kāpiti Councillor Warns Public Should Be Consulted Before Govt Takes Over District’s Water

Kāpiti District Councillor Jackie Elliott has given warning that local people may be deprived of any say in the ownership of Kāpiti’s water resources.

She says : “Whether to opt in, or opt out of, the 3-Waters Project, which will transfer ownership of public-owned water assets to four new regional entities, is a question the Government wants your elected representatives to answer after the next eight weeks.

“Why after that time? You may ask. It is because over the next eight weeks, the Department of Internal Affairs and Government will finally be rolling out more information and we are instructed not to make a decision yet, but to give feedback.”

Public mandate needed

But Councillor Elliott maintains any decision made without public consultation will be without a mandate from the owners of our water assets, the public of Kāpiti.

“The Government are yet to commit to any national public consultative process, citing lack of time. But this is a project first mooted two years ago — and is proposed not to be fully implemented until 2024. Surely there is a window for the public too be asked first.” says Cr Elliott.

Disrictwide Councillor Jackie Elliott

Councils everywhere are grappling with the Shakespearean to consult/ or not to consult question, she says.

“Christchurch Council indicated they want their feedback to reflect their public opinion.” says Elliott.

“Wellington City Council will vote soon as W.C.C. Cr Dianne Calvert has put forward a resolution that council staff investigate whether a local referendum can be held.

“And the same resolution can be put to the vote here in Kapiti with the support of the Mayor and Chief Executive.”

Cr Elliott continues: “Without that support it will be up to a councillor to propose — and three more councillors to co-sign — a notice of resolution that our C.E. Is bound to place on the next meeting agenda.

“I believe Kapiti should do the same — a referendum or at least run a consultative process.”

Councillors feel there’s not enough information

Cr Elliott adds: “The general feeling at the KCDC table is that there is not enough information for the public to make an informed decision.”
“I am sure there has been enough information, from many sources in the public arena to inform those interested enough to make a submission to inform elected representatives.

“This is very important and will have a lasting effect on your future costs and everyone should be interested enough to learn about it and give an opinion .” Says Cr Elliott.

Cr Jackie Elliott sys for further information contact her on Jackie.elliott@kapiticoast.govt.nz or 0210452762

Note: –

 In 2012 after public protests and a 8014 signature “Ask Us First’ petition for a referendum on water meters in Kapiti, the Council voted to add clause 9.16 to Standing Orders that ensured a referendum before any divulging of water assets, says Cr Elliott.

She says: “I find it hard to believe the Council, Mayor and Management (now) think this is negotiable.”

( Relevant KCDC document below)

9.16 Decisions on water assets and services1 Any decision relating to:

(a) the divestment of ownership of water assets under Section 130, 131 and 137 of the Local Government Act 2002 or in any other situation;

(b) transfer of water assets and services to a local government organisation under s130 of the Local Government Act 2002 or in any other situation;

(c) contracting out for the management or operation of the water supply system as a whole, either to a private interest or a local government organisation under s136 of the Local Government Act 2002 or in any other situation. (Note: this provision does not apply to contracts for maintenance, renewal and upgrade works, or for professional services, design and contract management);

(d) establishment of a joint arrangement or a joint local government arrangement under Section 137 of the Local Government Act 2002 or in any other situation;

(e) transfer of control of funding policy, pricing and charging responsibilities in relation to water to any other local government organisation or private interest;

(f) any departure from a not-for-profit charging regime for Council’s water supply system; will require a 75% majority of members present and voting. All decisions under (a) – (f) will require a referendum to have taken place to provide input into a decision before that decision is made

It’s good to see non-partisan opposition to this ridiculous council asset grab by the central government. My view has always been that since the central government levies GST on Rates it has a moral obligation to spend or repay that money in the areas it is taken from — either that or abolish the GST on Rates. The present government is good at disingenuous PR, and makes it look like last year’s “here’s free money if you sign up to talk about this proposal” was a gift. More recently the government has resorted to bribes. All councils should oppose this plan, instead ask the government for the money needed to bring their three waters up to and be maintained at a good standard.

i totally agree with you John, and on the point of ‘What can Kapiti get out of this?’ Because we have to get something! I have maintained from the beginning I’m looking for a signed and sealed contract for the Govt to deliver the Maungakotukutuku Dam, nothing less.

Typically in NZ we seem to go in for complete re-organisational change and short term major disruption, rather than looking at how to ‘ímprove’ the current situation resulting in a vast waste of resources, manpower and inevitably higher long term costs not least in the whole re-organisation involved. (Take HNZC and its various incarnations going around in circles dependent on which political party is in power). Some LA’s obviously perform quite well, others are a bit of a disaster but often have small rating bases and wide ranging district areas to deal with and all are reluctant to raise rates. Many have years of catching up to do. Clearly Central Government does not trust Local Government to competently carry out the necessary upgrading of the 3 Waters and in some cases are quite justified to think so….think of some of the current issues that have arisen. However the current proposals seem like a ‘dogs diner’, especially the proposed limited four regions which seem to bear no relationship to the ‘networks on the ground’ having no related issues and no common environment. (What does the north of the south island, the Wellington region and the Wairaipa have in common?)
Suspect metering of water supplies (which I support with some caviets around the pricing structure), needs to be rolled out nationally. I guess for Kapiti the issue is what benefit do we get from having dealt in large part to our at least water infrastructure (as distinct to other districts who have not invested in infrastructure), if not wholly to the storm water issues and condition of our rivers and waterways.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.