Wellington Scoop

CofC blames Wellington councillors for faults in water network

Media release from Wellington Chamber Of Commerce
The decision of Wellington’s politicians to launch an investigation into their own officials over the poor state of the city’s water network is an attempt to hold everyone but themselves accountable, according to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.

“Yesterday afternoon it emerged 12 out of 15 Wellington City councillors signed-up to a wide-ranging inquiry into Wellington Water’s operations, just hours after the Mayor announced his own taskforce to look into Wellington’s water network,” says Chief Executive John Milford.

“Finger pointing by the Council is not good enough. The Council owns the pipes, and it is the councillors who sign off on all funding and investment decisions.

“The Chamber has long been on the record calling for councillors to invest properly in our city’s infrastructure.

“Despite significant year-on-year rates increases, capital expenditure on core infrastructure keeps being delayed and deferred meaning decades of under-funding.

“That’s not the fault of officials. That’s on the politicians.

“It is only with sewerage now flowing into the harbour, that councillors are finally getting serious.

“The taskforce and the inquiry should find out the true health of Wellington’s water network. And it must also find out how the network became so poorly funded by its owners.

“Politicking won’t solve this issue. The city needs its political leaders to act in the best long-term interests of all residents and businesses, and get the sewerage off our streets and out of our harbour.”

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  1. michael, 22. February 2020, 17:06

    Absolutely agree with this. And, as our Mayor has been a councillor for 27-30 years he would have been party to the constant deferring of funding for infrastructure, so he should not be at all surprised that we are now in this mess.
    Unfortunately for ratepayers, for years egos and vanity projects seem to have blinded councillors to reality.

  2. N.D., 22. February 2020, 23:00

    We just need some experienced engineers to fix things! Blame game can wait!

  3. Glen Smith, 22. February 2020, 23:14

    Interestingly the Chamber of Commerce wants the airport extension..and conference centre…and indoor arena…and every new road imaginable…but they want businesses to pay less rates. And when there’s not enough more to do all this and maintain basic infrastructure they winge and point fingers. Perhaps it’s time for them to advocate increasing business rates to cover the cost of all the things on their wish list.

  4. Michael Gibson, 23. February 2020, 6:54

    Glen – as far as I am concerned a key point in the last election was when the Chamber of Commerce guy said how important the “airport extension..and conference centre…and indoor arena” were and then I asked Justin Lester if that logically meant that businesses should pay for them.
    The ducking for cover was nauseating.

  5. Keith Flinders, 23. February 2020, 10:45

    You get rid of the wide ranging City Engineer’s department who kept an eye over all the engineering functions.
    You get rid of the WCC works department with its many long term and experienced staff who had historical knowledge of how things worked and when plant etc. was due for overhaul or replacement.
    You employ a third party with little experience other than how to use external contractors. But on the plus side the day to day service issues are no longer ones to be confronted by WCC councillors.
    The bean counters are happy that the cost of full essential and preventative maintenance has been removed from the balance sheet, as fix it when it fails appears to cost less.
    What could possibly go wrong ? N.D. hits the nail on the head with his suggestions.

  6. far5cam, 24. February 2020, 13:46

    Glen and Michael G, the business sector pays significantly higher rates than residential ratepayers and if the shops etc are outside the central business area they receive very few or no benefits to justify the additional rates. On top of the rates, many commercial business pay separately for water which is a cost included in the residential rates. Some examples of the commercial v residential rates are:
    Suburban – same building
    Capital value Shop $270,000 – Rates $2,674.92
    Capital value Flat $850,000 – Rates $3,186.52
    Suburban building in a different suburb – Shop with flat above
    Capital Value Shop $350,000 – Rates $4,952.24
    Capital Value Flat $595,000 – Rates $2,700.74
    Suburban building in a different suburb – Shop with flat above
    Capital Value Shop $405,000– Rates $4,012.39
    Capital Value Flat $345,000 – Rates $1,382.40
    Central city
    Capital Value Shop $1,380,000 – Rates $19,286.19
    Capital Value Flat $ 405,000– Rates $1,596.77
    It seems to me that the commercial sector is well and truly paying their fair share of rates considering the services, benefits they receive.

  7. Michael Gibson, 24. February 2020, 18:00

    Thank you, far5cam. I agree entirely that “if the shops etc ….. outside the central business area …. receive very few or no benefits to justify the additional rates” they should not pay “additional rates”.
    The point is that runway length and concert venues etc, are being pushed by the Chamber of Commerce because their members get the benefit.
    This means that they should pay the cost, no shilly-shallying.
    That is the simple principle of targeted rates.