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Splashing cash for Three Waters fund


The transition funding is in addition to supporting initiatives for parks, gardens, and lakes, such as Henley Lake. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

Wairarapa councils will receive a combined $1.1 million of government funding to ensure they have the resourcing necessary to implement the Three Waters reforms.

The funding would cover a 12-month period and is determined by population, deprivation, and land area.

It comes after councils signalled massive resourcing costs to transition.

Carterton District Council previously said it would cost $850,000 in staff time and resources over the next two years.

South Wairarapa indicated it would cost in excess of $500,000 per year.

Both councils have been allocated $350,000 each.

Masterton had not previously indicated the cost of transition, but it would be allocated $407,000.

Wairarapa MP Kieran McAnulty, the Associate Minister of Local Government, said the reforms would deliver “significant cost savings” to councils and ratepayers over time, “but we acknowledge additional resources are needed in the short term to get the new system set up”.

“Since becoming Associate Minister of Local Government, I’ve been meeting rural and provincial councils, and one thing I’ve heard consistently is that councils are facing significant demand on their staff time and resources, and this fund is being established to assist with that.

“The Three Waters reform is the largest change local government have faced in a long time and is creating additional work for councils who are already under strain from staff shortages, winter illness, and covid.

“This funding will allow local authorities to draw in expertise to support councils through the Three Waters transition period and continue business as usual.”

The transition funding is in addition to the wider government support for the Three Waters Reform package, which includes $500 million in ‘Better Off’ funding to support councils to deliver wellbeing initiatives in their communities, such as parks, gardens, and swimming pools.

Each council in New Zealand would receive at least $350,000 in this latest transition package.

McAnulty said he had met with 21 rural and provincial councils over the past two weeks, and the concern of resourcing had come through consistently.

“I still have 34 councils to meet with, and I’ll be looking for their insight as to the best way we can support councils as a government and how to target future transition funding support.” – NZLDR

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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