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Hamilton City Council cannot support Government’s Three Waters Reform and has called for the legislation enabling the reform to be withdrawn.

In a unanimous decision at today’s meeting, Council approved a submission to the Parliamentary select committee considering the Water Services Entities Bill.

The submission noted Council’s strong opposition to the four-entity reform model, and the concerns it had previously raised around community consultation, local voice in representation arrangements, rights of ownership, placemaking and alignment with other Government reforms.

Council’s submission was also informed by a recently completed public consultation. The tight timeframes between the legislation being available and the closing date for submissions to the select committee meant the consultation period was restricted, but more than 1200 Hamiltonians gave their views.

Council’s submission noted the consultation process ‘clearly showed community concern over loss of local voice, insufficient financial detail and the loss of ownership and decision-making rights over its Three Waters assets and services.’

Council raised further concerns about a lack of guaranteed representation for Hamilton on the representation arrangements for the new entities, and the subsequent risk to strategic planning of water services to support wellbeing for Hamiltonians.

The submission also highlighted the tight timeframes to complete transition by Government’s target of July 2024, stating the proposed establishment date ‘appears unrealistic’.

The submission went on to state: ‘A poor or fractured transition presents significant risk to Council, the quality of our water services delivery, and the wellbeing of our ratepayers and staff. Government is yet to provide sufficient evidence of a structured and achievable pathway to transition.’

Public submissions to the select committee on the Water Services Entities Bill close on Friday 22 July 2022. The select committee is expected to report back to Parliament by November 2022.


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