Questions remaining over 3 Waters debt and pricing
Ruapehu mayor Weston Kirton said that while he supported the objectives of the new three waters model now known as there were still several key issues to be resolved.
"Like all other councils Ruapehu agrees that reform to three waters service delivery is needed," he said.
"We welcome the improvement to local representation with every council having a representative on their respective entity’s regional representative group.
Our concern with the new model is around the higher projected costs through losing some economies of scale and that there is still no commitment to price harmonisation.
Without price harmonisation Ruapehu will miss out on the pricing benefits that the economies of scale a multi-regional entity can deliver.
We also need clarity as to when we will get our water debt off our books," he said.
"Council significantly increased our borrowing to upgrade our water infrastructure on the understanding that this debt would be transferred to the new multi-regional entity from 1 July 2024.
The longer timetable of between early 2025 and 1 July 2026 for implementing the new entity model will mean the water debt is likely to be higher and remain on Council's books longer.
The impact of this has been recognised by the Minister and we welcome his offer to work with us to resolve this issue,” he said.
Other major implications concern planning for next year's new 2024/34 Long Term Plan which now needs to include three waters.
The loss of the $12.34m in second phase/tranche of better off funding will mean that the intended objectives of investing in housing, building climate change resilience, local place-making and community well-being will now need to be achieved through rating.
Council will continue to work constructively with Government to ensure the best possible outcomes for Ruapehu,” he said.