Government’s long-awaited funding boost and water reform agenda is New
Zealand’s best chance to create a high performing water sector for New
Zealanders,” says Infrastructure NZ CEO Paul Blair.
Government has today announced it will provide $761 million of investment to
local councils who opt-in to the Government’s wider reform programme.
reforms are required because over one million Kiwis do not have access to clean
drinking water today, our wastewater systems are degrading the environment and
our inability to deliver water services ahead of demand has been a critical
handbrake on the release of land for housing.
are pleased to see that central government is using financial incentives to
effect this change, and believe that funding, accountability and risk-sharing
mechanisms that reward local government for alignment with central government
goals will be far more effective than the ‘stick’ of additional regulation on
already stretched local resources.
we all really need to get to is a small number of publicly-owned specialised
water service providers with the scale and capacity to plan, fund, finance and operate
increasingly complex water systems.
these new regional public water providers as independent entities off
individual council balance sheets, will unlock major new water investment
needed to meet basic drinking, waste and stormwater standards.
limits on similar international water companies are around six times revenue,
compared to current council restraints equivalent to three times revenue.
an additional $4.5 billion of investment in new treatment plants, pipes and
other critical infrastructure to add to the Government’s $761 million
injection, if the Government’s reform process can be realised.
reforms can be accelerated, this investment will provide a major economic boost
across all parts of New Zealand at the same time as improving public and
we continue progress towards a modern world class water system, economic
regulation will be needed in addition to the Government’s new water quality
regulator Taumata Arowai.
regulation will monitor water charges to compare performance across the country
and ensure water entities meet standards, affordably and without gold plating
form of economic regulation of water will need to be broadened to explicitly
address the social, cultural and environmental importance of water to New
twin guardians of economic regulation, on one hand, and environmental and
drinking water quality regulation, on the other, will provide Kiwis with clear
benchmarking of quality outcomes from these water companies, enabling consumers
to understand the value they gain from their payments to water companies.
it underwent its reform process two decades ago, Scottish Water was able to
double its capital expenditure and its customer satisfaction, while lowering
water rates by 40% over a decade and a half of reform.
is what we can achieve in New Zealand.
announcement today is a very important step to creating a complete water system
covering urban and rural, fresh and grey water resources, helping to sustain
and improve one of our most important assets,” says Blair.
For further information and
comment contact Paul Blair on 021 902 436