Council decline Three Waters Better Off funding package
At today’s (8 November) extraordinary meeting of Council, the Waimate District Council considered a report from Chief Executive Stuart Duncan on the decision to accept or decline Tranche 1 of the Three Waters better off funding on offer by Central Government.
Following healthy debate, a motion to accept the Tranche 1 funding was tabled and lost 5 votes to 4.
In July 2021 the Government and Local Government New Zealand negotiated a $2 billion financial support package associated with the Government’s proposed Three Waters Reform. The better off package includes Tranche 1 funding of $500 million for approved projects.
The Waimate District Council’s total share of the Better Off Funding Package is $9.68 million. The funding is distributed in two tranches. Tranche 1, has a value of up to $2.42 million. The remainder of the funding ($7.26 million) via Tranche 2 would be available for projects that commenced from 1 July 2024 should the reform proceed.
Council applied for, and was granted an extension to make application for Tranche 1 funding with a revised closing date of 30 November 2022. The extension was sought to allow time for public feedback to be obtained and a full report to be drafted that included possible projects to be undertaken.
Following 50 minutes of general debate, Mayor Craig Rowley gave each councillor the opportunity to present their final views on the report. The closing statement by Mayor Rowley repeated many of the valid concerns and points raised by all Councillors and commented “the full $9.68 million (Tranche 1 and 2) would remain available from 1 July 2024 if the reform proceeds”.
Cr Sharyn Cain, Cr Sandy McAlwee, Cr John Begg and Cr Rick Stevens voiced clear opposition to the Three Waters Reform, however voted in favor of the motion to apply for Tranche 1 funding provided the Funding Agreement did not alter Council’s opposition to the Reform.
Mayor Craig Rowley, Cr Tom O’Connor, Cr Colin Pankhurst, Cr Lisa Small and Cr Peter Collins.
Mayor Rowley said “we have been opposed to the current reform from day one, and when a community overwhelmingly supports holding onto a position about such an important issue, it was important for the Council to listen.”