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.
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.firstname.lastname@example.org or 0210452762
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