Connecting to the mains might soon get cheaper
New legislation might soon make it cheaper to connect to mains water in Auckland.
The Government is looking to strip Watercare of its Infrastructure Growth Charge (IGC) and replace it with development contributions, under the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2).
For customers on rainwater systems looking to free themselves from the constraints having a water tank can bring, the IGC can make the move to mains supply a pipe dream.
Electrician Kyle Edmonds lives in the urban suburb of Stanmore Bay in north Auckland.
With an ageing tank he was hoping to hook into mains supply and say goodbye to the woes of powercuts and summer season runouts.
Having a tween, toddler and baby in the household meant running out of water was a nightmare, and a mid-shower runout was a ‘‘pain in the ass’’, Edmonds said.
But with the IGC added to a quote for a water meter, connection costs, and about 12 metres of pipe to the watermain right outside his house, it came to $13,800.
Edmonds said the price seemed grossly inflated for the work involved, and he believed expecting residents to pay for infrastructure they don’t benefit from is unfair.
‘‘That’s something I feel the average family can’t afford.’’
The Bill had passed its first reading and with two more to go could be months or years away from passing into law.
Productivity Commission principal advisor Geoff Lewis said the commission’s criticism of the IGC was the way Watercare calculated the charge as an average across the whole region.
‘‘The costs should fall on those who benefit from the extension which is ultimately the new household or the new businesses that are being connected up.’’
The IGC did not recover full
‘‘That's something I feel the average family can't afford.’’ Kyle Edmonds
costs, wasn’t transparent and didn’t give developers the chance to appeal and push back on the council to keep them honest, Lewis said.
The New Zealand Property Council was vocal in its support of having the IGC removed and replacing it with charges that reflected the true costs of each development, were transparent, and had appeal rights.
‘‘It is still not passed but we hope it will go through,’’ chief executive Connal Townsend said.
The Edmonds family, Harper, Kyle, Christina and Indie, think the growth charge for tank owners is ridiculous and something the average Auckland family can’t afford.