Wellington councils to consider merging water services; no consensus till now

Press Release – Greater Wellington Regional Council
Councils in metropolitan Wellington will meet from next week to consider a proposal to combine retail and bulk water services across Wellington, Porirua and the Hutt Valley.

The Councils want to increase the number of services they share as a regional priority and have identified four areas to develop on a shared basis. Water in all of its forms is one of those areas and this proposal gives effect to that objective.

The proposal looks at including Greater Wellington Regional Council’s (GWRC) water functions with the retail water, storm water and waste water functions currently managed by Capacity (Capacity is currently owned by Wellington, Porirua, Hutt and Upper Hutt city councils). The Councils will continue to own their water assets and determine their annual program of work but they will be managed by the new entity with a regional emphasis on quality service delivery.

Options being considered involve integrating the Regional Council’s bulk water supply function with Capacity, introducing a new company name (proposed to be Wellington Water) to reflect its wider mandate, and establishing a water committee (made up of representatives from the five local councils which would be shareholders of the new company) to ensure that policy decisions remain the responsibility of elected representatives rather than appointed directors.

It is proposed that Wellington Water would manage the water, waste water, storm water and bulk water supply assets and provide services to customers on behalf of the five councils. However all councils would continue to retain ownership of their water infrastructure assets.

If the city councils support the proposal, the proposal for GWRC to become a shareholder in Wellington Water would need to be consulted on using the special consultative procedure as part of the Regional Council’s 2014/15 Annual Plan consultation process.

David Benham, Chief Executive of GWRC, says the councils and Capacity agree it’s important that opportunities for efficiency across the region are identified.

“As part of the Shared Services programme recently agreed by the Mayoral Forum, the integration of bulk water supply and retail water supply is being reviewed.

“Integration of water services management for metropolitan Wellington has been looked at in the past, with the focus on improved efficiency and economies of scale, however it has not been possible to reach a consensus.”

Mr Benham says that since Porirua and Upper Hutt city councils joined as shareholders of Capacity last year, the time is right to look at this again.

‘We believe integration of water services management will result in better end-to-end planning and decision making for metropolitan Wellington, and less duplication of systems and technical resources.

“If the proposal gets the support of the four city councils and GWRC we’ll be encouraging people to have their say during our Annual Plan consultation process in March/April.”

GWRC expects to discuss the options at a Council meeting on 6 March.

Attachment: Draft Statement of Proposal
Wellington_Water__statement_of_proposal.pdf

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2 comments:

  1. Hel, 9. February 2014, 18:04

    About time. This has been blindingly obvious, and great to see sensible initiatives progressing which had previously been hampered by petty politics. Get on with it!

     
  2. CC, 9. February 2014, 21:40

    Hel, the font of all privatisation knowledge, has written a supportive comment.

     

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