Regional | Ngāi Tahu

Ngāi Tahu reaches out to councils on Three Waters replacement

Hurunui mayor Marie Black says councils need to carefully consider what is the best model to serve their communities. Photo: Supplied / Hurunui District Council via LDR

Ngāi Tahu wants to work with councils to find solutions for ageing water infrastructure - a move that has the support of North Canterbury’s mayors.

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu Kaiwhakahaere (chairperson) Justin Tipa invited South Island councils to work with the iwi to address the challenge of providing sustainable water services.

‘’We understand the consequences of historical under investment affecting many South Island council districts in the takiwā and have felt the effects, especially in our own communities,’’ Tipa said during a Local Government conference last week.

‘’Around a third of Ngāi Tahu marae lack reticulated water supplies and the status quo in freshwater management, including storm and wastewater, has comprehensively failed our traditional waterways and lands.’’

The government scrapped the Three Waters programme in February and is now working on replacement legislation which would allow councils to form their own groupings.

Hurunui mayor Marie Black said there was ‘’a lot of rhetoric about what the options are’' but councils needed to carefully consider what was the best model to serve their communities for the next 50 years.

She said she was encouraged by Ngāi Tahu’s commitment to addressing water issues.

‘New beginnings and open conversations’

‘’Canterbury is always looking to build a relationship with Ngāi Tahu.

‘’They have opened a door and it is important for our communities to consider how best to look after our water infrastructure.

‘’We are in this phase of new beginnings and having open conversations to consider the future of water infrastructure can only be a positive, but there is a lot of water to go under the bridge.’’

Waimakariri mayor Dan Gordon said Tipa’s presentation was ‘’interesting and well received’'.

‘’We look forward to continuing these discussions when we have greater clarity around the water infrastructure reform proposals due later in the year.

‘’Once we receive this information we will also be consulting with our communities.’’

Kaikōura mayor Craig Mackle said there was ‘’nothing new’' in Tipa’s address.

He said his council would meet with its local treaty partner Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura before proceeding.

Mackle has previously stated his preference was to work with the Hurunui and Waimakariri councils.

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