Councils across the region have joined forces to launch an unprecedented public information campaign encouraging Hawke’s Bay residents to participate in the upcoming Tri-Water Reform legislative process.
Entitled ‘Have your say, Hawke’s Bay’, the public information campaign aims to inform communities of the most significant changes to local government in over a generation and to encourage people to share their views with Parliament .
Overview of the Have Your Say Hawke’s Bay public information campaign:
Runs from June 12 to August 25
A mix of editorial, advertising and web content at www.hb3waters.nz
· Advertising across a range of media including print, magazine, radio, digital, social media and billboards
Two-phase advertising messaging:
June: Find out what you need to know
July/August: Express yourself
Alex Walker, Mayor of Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, says the changes affect everyone. “Residents, businesses, iwi/Maori, rural and urban communities will all be affected by these reforms, and for generations to come. We know that many people in our communities are already familiar with what is on offer, but we are acutely aware that many are not. We believe it is our responsibility to ensure that everyone has the chance to understand the scope and details of the changes that are coming. »
As part of the reforms, from July 1, 2024, responsibility for the provision of Hawke’s Bay drinking water, waste and stormwater services would be transferred from local councils to a super-entity covering 21 councils. East Cape atop South Island and Chatham Islands.
Kirsten Wise, Mayor of Napier City Council, said the first bill to create the four public entities received first reading yesterday, June 9. “It now goes to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee, for detailed review and to receive public submissions.
“Speak up, Hawke’s Bay provides information on the details of the government’s plans for our communities’ three-water services and explains how people can make their views known to the Select Committee. It’s a complex topic, but we believe our communities deserve to know what’s on offer, what it will mean for them, and how they can make their voices heard.
Sandra Hazlehurst, Mayor of Hastings District Council, strongly encourages people to fully understand the reforms and to speak up. “Last year it was the turn of the Councils and we made our position clear, on behalf of our communities. The government is now taking a legislative route, so it is time for our residents of Hawke’s Bay to have a voice in what they think the future of their tri-water services should be.
Craig Little, Mayor of Wairoa District Council, said the legislative agenda for Three Water Reform is not straightforward. “With two bills to consult and the timing of the second bill unknown at this stage, it makes the submission process very confusing and unnecessary. It will certainly test the resolve of those who want to have their say.
“We strongly encourage the government to indicate when the second bill will be introduced in the House and the details it will contain,” Little said.
The legislative process:
Two key pieces of legislation
1. Water Service Entities Bill – introduced last week, allows for the creation of new super-entities. He specifies :
the ownership, governance and accountability arrangements of the entities, including their purposes and the principles under which they would operate
the geographical limits of the service delivery area of each of the entities
safeguards against future privatization of water services
Transitional arrangements necessary for entities to be in place to provide services from July 2024.
2. A second bill – date unknown at this stage but within the next few months, enacts the operation of the entities.
Alex Walker says: “We are taking this unusual step because as Councils we are committed to ensuring our communities know what is on offer. The government has chosen not to engage directly with our communities, so we are stepping in to support the people of Hawke’s Bay with the information they deserve.
In conclusion, the mayors say: “We strongly encourage our communities to get involved, to go to www.hb3waters.nz, where we have a wealth of information on the reforms, and find out how they can have their say while Parliament considers its decisions.”
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