Regional | Wellington City Council

‘Going to take decades to fix’: Wellington mayor Tory Whanau after water woes meeting

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau Photo / RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Wellington mayor Tory Whanau has met the local government minister on the city’s troubled water network and says central and local government need to work together.

Whanau said her her meeting with Simeon Brown was “very constructive and positive”.

“I’m very much looking forward to working with the minister to address our water infrastructure issues,” Whanau (Pakakohi, Ngāruahine) said.

“He has a deadline, of course, to receive all the information that he requested. We’re very much working on that. "

Discussions included on leaky pipes that have contributed to the Hutt Valley, Wellington and Porirua preparing for an acute water shortage this summer.

At present, Wellington has level 2 water restrictions with a move to more severe restrictions being considered, while at the same time, over 40 percent of of the city’s drinking water is being lost through leaks.

‘On the same page’

Whanau said she felt she and Brown were on the same page when it came to the water infrastructure.

Whanau said while the meeting was “a general catch up about water infrastructure”, she said they did talk about how the government could help support that.

“Things we still need to work on is what reform might look like.”

She said she reiterated the cpouncil’s commitment to improving water infrastructure, to increasing funding in its long term plan and prioritising water meters.

“We are committed to working with the region and our water committee to really get on top of this water infrastructure issue and make sure that we don’t have the same problem next summer.”

Whanau said in the short term, it was working to fix the pipes and leaks.

Would take decades

“But the solution for water infrastructure, unfortunately, is long term. I think what the public needs to realise is that it’s actually going to take decades to fix the state of our pipes, and that will take the government and all of our local councils working together.”

Following the meeting Brown said in a statement: “I met with Mayor Tory Whanau this morning to discuss the water situation facing Wellington. It was a positive meeting. She reiterated her commitment to provide the information requested by the first of February. I look forward to receiving the information.”

The minister will meet with Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy on Monday afternoon.