Water bid re­jected

Im­pact quizzed

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

A bid to ask the Gov­ern­ment to force the Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil ( GWRC) to give up the con­trol of bulk water has been re­jected by Hutt City coun­cil­lors, who were ner­vous about the im­pact it would have on Porirua coun­cil.

Hutt coun­cil was last week briefed by Ca­pac­ity, which man­ages the sup­ply of water for Hutt City and Welling­ton, on the pos­si­ble in­clu­sion of Porirua and Up­per Hutt.

Set up in 2004, it was ini­tially en­vis­aged that Ca­pac­ity would in­clude all the coun­cils in the re­gion.

Only Welling­ton and Hutt City, how­ever, joined the com­pany amid con­cern it would lead to water me­ters and pri­vati­sa­tion of water.

Board chair­man Peter All­port said Ca­pac­ity had de­liv­ered sav­ings of $3 mil­lion.

‘‘ I think Ca­pac­ity has per­formed ex­tremely well. I look for­ward to a new model where they will per­form even bet­ter.’’

Both Porirua and Welling­ton are con­sid­er­ing for­mally join­ing Ca­pac­ity.

In a re­port to coun­cil­lors, pol­icy of­fi­cer Robert Mccrone noted the po­ten­tial for huge sav­ings if bulk water sup­plier GWRC joined.

‘‘ If all coun­cils ( in­clud­ing GWRC) were to in­te­grate un­der the new model, the re­gion’s ratepay­ers could save as much as $5.1 mil­lion an­nu­ally. To put this in con­text in 2010/11 Hutt, Porirua, Up­per Hutt and Welling­ton City’s bulk water levy was $23.45 mil­lion. In­te­gra­tion un­der the new model could pro­vide coun­cils with one year’s free water ev­ery five years.’’

He also noted their cur­rent ‘‘po­lit­i­cal fo­cus’’ was on pro­mot­ing a su­per city.

Coun­cil­lor Max Shier­law asked Mr All­port why GWRC had not joined. He replied that Ca­pac­ity was a ser­vice provider and it was up to politi­cians and the com­mu­nity to de­cide is­sues such as that. Ca­pac­ity was fo­cus­ing on be­ing ready to take over bulk water, once GWRC de­cides to join.

Cr Shier­law said that in the cur­rent en­vi­ron­ment, where the Gov­ern­ment was look­ing for coun­cils to show fi­nan­cial re­straint, the coun­cil could not ig­nore the sig­nif­i­cant sav­ing from in­clud­ing GWRC.

He un­suc­cess­fully moved a mo­tion call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to pass leg­is­la­tion forc­ing GWRC to join.

Mr Shier­law ques­tioned the com­pe­tency of GWRC and said it was clear their politi­cians do not have the stom­ach for change.

Mayor Ray Wal­lace said he largely agreed with Cr Shier­law but did not sup­port his mo­tion.

Porirua had not yet for­mally agreed to join Ca­pac­ity and he did not want to do any­thing to make their politi­cians ner­vous.

Coun­cil­lor Chris Milne asked what GWRC’S re­sponse had been to hear­ing of the po­ten­tial an­nual sav­ing of over $2 mil­lion.

Ca­pac­ity chief ex­ec­u­tive David Hill said there had been no re­cent con­tact with politi­cians. GWRC staff, how­ever, see the ‘‘ab­so­lute ne­ces­sity’’ of join­ing.

Mr All­port said it was clear that GWRC be­lieves it should con­trol all water as­sets in the re­gion.

Hutt City coun­cil­lors have agreed to a new model, which will in­clude the other three coun­cils.

The other coun­cils have yet to make a decision on their stance, although Porirua has in­di­cated there will be a 12-week com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion process.

Mayor Fran Wilde did not respond to re­quests for an in­ter­view.

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