Minister of Local Government Hon Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed the decision by South Wairarapa District Council to have Wellington Water provide its water management services.
It is vital for communities around New Zealand to have confidence in the safety of their drinking water and in the environmental performance of their waste and storm water systems. This is a positive development and a move that makes good sense.
South Wairarapas access to the expertise and efficiencies that its association with Wellington Water offers will help give its community the assurance it needs over water quality, and provide confidence for its businesses and important tourism sector.
It should also assist with the Councils longer-term requirements and help provide for a sustainable three waters system into the future, Nanaia Mahuta said.
Minister Mahuta said that water quality is a critical issue for New Zealanders. The Havelock North campylobacter outbreak in 2016 made more than 5000 people ill and is thought to be responsible for up to four deaths. There is also increasingly heightened community awareness and expectations around the treatment of waste and storm water and the quality of water in rivers, lakes and coastal environments. She noted that the challenges were complex and significant.
The Three Waters Review, which I am leading with a number of senior colleagues, is working on the regulation of three waters with a priority on drinking water safety. We expect to have policy options on this to Cabinet in June this year.
Minister Mahuta congratulated the efforts made by both Wellington Water and South Wairarapa District Council, and acknowledged similar work taking place elsewhere.
I am encouraged by this example, and by the efforts of councils in other parts of the country, such as in Hawkes Bay and Waikato, voluntarily to work towards best practice water management outcomes for their communities, said Nanaia Mahuta.