New Zealand’s Rural and Provincial Councils are calling on the Government to slow reforms.
The report, released on Tuesday, details a number of concerns from users of mixed-use rural water supplies in relation to the Three Waters reforms.
The report found some users of council-owned mixed-use rural supplies are concerned about the implications of the transfer of their schemes, as well as concerns about costs for rural communities.
It also states that some owners of private schemes mistakenly believed their mixed-use rural supplies will be taken by government and water services entities or transferred to Māori ownership.
The report recommends that all council owned water-use rural supplies be transferred to the water services entities because these entities “will have the people, resources and expertise to operate these schemes into the future”.
It also recommends a risk-based approach to drinking water regulatory compliance and rural users be consulted on pricing and funding plans for water services entities.
“Many of the findings raised by the group look sound,” says Federated Farmers national president Andrew Hoggard.
He says the report represents a sliver of common sense amongst the water policy decision-making that Feds is struggling to explain to its members.
However, Hoggard says Federated Farmers still concerns about the set up of the water services entities themselves.
“But we like the recommendation that there should be the opportunity for rural community to take back water assets with shared ownership or maintenance agreements,” he says.
"It would depend on capacity, finances and capability, the predominant use of the scheme and other factors. But the community should decide."
Hoggard says Federated Farmers agree with the reports recommendation that rural users should be consulted on the water entities’ funding and that the consultation should begin before the new entities go live.
“Sadly, this is just a small piece in the much larger puzzle we are trying to put together properly for our members right now.”