Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate will meet with Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty to push for greater local representation and better financial outcomes from Government’s Three Water Reform.
In April Government announced changes to its reform programme, including increasing the number of waters entities from four to 10, removing some funding previously offered to councils, and changes to the membership of Regional Representative Groups (RRG). In discussions with Mayors across the country, the Minister encouraged feedback on the changes.
Today’s Council meeting (4 May) considered potential feedback to the Minister, including a proposal that the Minister approve additional independent representation of the Future Proof councils to the RRG for the Waikato Entity. Future Proof is a joint project set up to consider how the Hamilton, Waipaa and Waikato sub-region should develop into the future.
Council noted it opposes the withdrawal of the second tranche of ‘Better Off’ funding previously offered by Government and wants Government to honour all components of the reform’s financial support package. Council remains opposed to the reform model proposed by Government.
Mayor Paula Southgate said today’s decision means Council will continue to push the three waters conversations with central government, to represent the best interests of Hamiltonians.
“Our proposal means appointing an independent voice as the Regional Representative Group of the Waikato waters entity to strengthen the voice and influence of the Future Proof councils. This is a well-respected partnership which has been working across councils and mana whenua for years to ensure a cohesive response to growth in the Waikato’s greatest growth area.
“This is a solution which will provide a seamless connection between spatial planning and sustainable waters management. It will build on the knowledge, relationships and mana built over years, and which has already delivered great outcomes for our region.
“If approved, this addition will result in better three waters representation for everyone not just in Hamilton, but also those in the wider Waikato.”
Council approved Mayor Southgate, Deputy Mayor O’Leary, Cr van Oosten and Cr Tauariki to present these proposals directly to the Minister of Local Government.