Community to have say on three waters reform proposal

Published on 30 September 2021

Water conservation hand on tap

Far North residents have until 22 October to have their say on whether the Council should opt in or out of the Government’s Three Waters Reform Programme.

The Mayor and Councillors voted in August 2020 to join the initial phase of the reform programme.  Last August, they voted to provisionally opt out of the programme until the Council has sufficient information to make an informed decision. They also voted to gauge community support for the proposal and to ask Council staff to report back to them in November after analysing the Government’s reform proposal. The Council has now engaged independent research company, Key Research, to undertake a poll of Far North residents randomly selected from the General and Māori Electoral Rolls. Other people with a view on this issue can also have their say through an online portal which can be accessed via the Council’s website. The Mayor and Councillors will consider feedback the community provides before deciding whether to opt in or out of the reform programme on 4 November.

Mayor John Carter urges people to find out about the proposed reforms because they will affect the way wastewater and stormwater services are delivered in the Far North if they go ahead. “The reforms represent the biggest restructure of local government services in New Zealand since the amalgamation of Councils in 1989. There is a lot at stake, so it is important that residents and ratepayers have their say on this issue.”

Mayor Carter says the Council has posted information and key reports about the reforms on its website to support understanding of the reforms. However, he expressed disappointment at the level of information provided by so far by the Government. “There are a lot of things for people to consider. We have tried to provide balanced information, based on what we know now, to help people make their minds up.” 

He is urging anyone taking the Council survey to first read an information brochure available on the FNDC website that provides a summary of the proposals. More information is also provided for those seeking further detail.

People have until 22 October to have their say on the proposed reforms.  “This is not a binding referendum.  However, we will consider the survey results before deciding whether to opt in or out of the programme.  We also want to know why people support or don’t support the reforms, so we can pass this feedback on to the Government.”

He also urges Far North residents to contact their local Member of Parliament directly to share their views about the Government’s Three Waters Reform Programme.

Click  here for further information about the Government’s three waters proposal and to access the online survey portal.