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Government urged to keep open mind on water

Local Government New Zealand is urging central government to keep its policy options open, and work collaboratively with local government to find the best solution so that New Zealanders continue to enjoy safe drinking water.

LGNZ Vice-President Stuart Crosby, reiterated local government’s long-standing call for clearer water standards, co-regulation, and more stringent performance monitoring.

His call supports many of the recommendations from the Havelock North Inquiry, which investigated the cause of the 2016 water contamination incident, in which 5,000 people fell sick, and was also linked to the loss of four lives.

However, local government is concerned that central government is increasingly fixated on putting policy solutions in place that would radically restructure the entire three waters sector, which includes stormwater and wastewater, without working in partnership with the owners of these water assets.

Mr Crosby says “Where we don’t agree with the Government is the belief you need to rationalise the entire water sector into a handful of regional water monopolies to fix the current problems in the drinking water space.”

Read Stuart Crosby’s full speech to the Water New Zealand Conference