Opinions differ over whether Waipā District Council should take the money offered to it by the government’s Three Waters Reform Package.
Local Government New Zealand says the package would not commit council to any government reforms while a legal opinion for another council suggests taking the money would commit a council to the reforms, mayor Jim Mylchreest told the council this week.
Mylchreest recently met Local Government minister Nanaia Mahuta and came away from the meeting with the realisation she was not about to change her mind about Three Waters.
“It’s still progressing so I guess we could keep pushing our point of view,” he said.
Councils have been invited to submit projects for their share of $500 million.
The government’s plan is to merge 67 different water organisations currently run by councils, into just four and transfer all council water assets to a new national water regulator – Taumata Arowai – which would set the standards for quality.
Four mega water authorities would own and manage drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services on behalf of local councils.
Waipā would get $24 million for its water supply.
A further $1.5b will become available in mid-2024.
The money can be used for a broad range of projects and initiatives to benefit the community – from parks and gardens to swimming pools, libraries or community centres.
Councils have until the end of September to apply.