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Carterton takes the plunge Waingawa water project gets go ahead

Carterton councillors have voted to progress a $2.77 million water project, despite being advised by senior staff on two occasions not to.

The Waingawa Process Water Project, which was announced last year, would boost water resilience in the Waingawa industrial park in the Carterton district.

Government-funded to the tune of $1.75m, it was given the green light to proceed at Wednesday’s council meeting.

Voting against the project were councillors Grace Ayling, Brian Deller, and Steve Lawrence.

“You don’t give up until you’re dead,” said Mayor Ron Mark, who voted in favour of the project, in reference to seeking more external funding to bolster the project.

Councillor Robyn Cherry-Campbell spoke passionately in support of the project and its importance for Wairarapa’s water resilience.

Now is not the time to “pull the plug on it”, she said.

Last month, council staff presented an update on the project, informing elected members that the estimated costs had increased from $2.5m to $2.77m, with the difference needing to be met by ratepayers.

Councillors voted unanimously to investigate the project further and have further conversations with potential funders.

Since that meeting, the project has received Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy [WEDS] funding of $128,000.

The project has also been rescoped to take water from
the water race to fill the
existing 2500 cubic metre storage tank. This option is instead of establishing a new borehole.

Even with the change in scope, the estimated cost remains the same as previously because major works are
needed to pump the process water from the tank to wood processor Juken New Zealand Limited, the major water user in the industrial area.

Going ahead with the project would result in a 0.48 per cent rates increase that has not
been included in the current draft LTP which signals
an average rates rise of 15.09 per cent.

Senior council staff said external funding is fixed and therefore Carterton District Council will own the risk of project cost overruns or variations.

The water could also require further treatment in order to be suitable to some industrial users and water treatment
isn’t included in the scope of the project.

The whole life cost of the project over 50 years shows
a burden of $1.54 million, according to a report to council.


Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air


  1. One would hope that the budget for this project includes the recouping of costs over time by charging the industrial users of the water a realistic fee per cubic metre. Can we expect that return on our investment paid by our increased rates?

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Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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