“Following our meeting with Wellington Water yesterday, and further consideration by Councillors, it has been agreed that we need a dedicated team to look into the factors that have led to our current situation, and develop an action plan for Council consideration,” Mayor Foster says.
The Taskforce will cover issues like (but not limited to):
• the state of Wellington’s water infrastructure
• the adequacy of the current renewals and maintenance programme
• requirements, including investment, to deliver a sustainable long term water network
• governance arrangements.
“While these issues are not unique to Wellington, as evidenced by the Auditor-General’s recent findings, they are of serious concern to the Council and to Wellingtonians. So we need an expert team focussed solely on this, which is what the Taskforce will provide.”
Terms of reference, Taskforce membership and a number of other administrative matters are still being finalised.
“However, it is intended the Taskforce include mana whenua and some members’ independent from the Council, to provide a fresh and objective perspective is brought to the process.
“We understand the high public interest in this issue and so will ensure the Taskforce’s work is open and transparent.”
Decisions that are made following the Taskforce’s work, and especially those with financial implications, will feed into Council’s planning and budget processes.
“In the meantime, we will continue to work with Wellington Water to ensure that specific current problems are dealt with efficiently and that communication with the public about them is improved.
“It’s really important that we meet community, mana whenua and our own expectations in terms of the reliable provision of clean water and environmental protection. The Taskforce will be a useful tool in achieving those goals.
“As water is a regional as well as city issue, I have spoken with other Mayors and Chairs around the region about the establishment of the Taskforce.”
More details will be released once they are finalised.