Now’s here a very ironic juxtaposition of messages that illustrates precisely why the Government is going to strip our local councils of their responsibility for managing the delivery of our local water services.

On the right, you see a Wednesday advertisement in HB Today from “Three Waters”, headlined (admonishing?) IMAGINE AOTEAROA WITHOUT GOOD WATER”. The ad was placed by the NZ Government.

Basically the ad says (I paraphrase), ‘You’re not getting the safe, clean water you deserve, so we’ve got a plan.’ Now I quote: “’cos we’re water’s biggest fan”.

No other content is provided, although the sponsor’s website is noted:

I can assure you, every councillor in Hawke’s Bay knows exactly what is being announced in this ad.

“You screwed up your water infrastructure – drinking water, stormwater, wastewater – so we’re (Government) coming to take it over!”

Now read the short news item on the left side, and you’ll know why.

That item is headlined: “Water disruptions as council checks out pipe”.

Another Napier water systems failure … this time a broken wastewater pipe on Kennedy Road.

Once again Napier residents are told: Don’t flush. Don’t use dishwashers or washing machines. Don’t empty baths.

Who does the Napier ratepayer hold accountable for this? Anyone? And how? It’s a legacy issue … the current mayor, CEO and councillors didn’t cause the problem. 

And this happens throughout Hawke’s Bay … I just pick on NCC because it seems to happen there the most. And because it’s all the more ironic because previous NCC regimes always boasted loudly they had all this asset management ‘stuff’ totally covered, with no debt to boot!

Well, the waterwheel turns!

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  1. Im out of Otane on the Papanui stream and our farm bore just clocked Nitrates at 24, that is crazy and a failure by HBRC which still continues, Nitrates should be under 5 according to new research.

    1. How is this a failure by HBRC and what should/could they be doing to rectify the nitrate levels?

  2. ironic… you were pro-amalgamation Tom, yet here’s a form of it you’re against; while I was against it, yet am starting to think government moving in to sort this out (for those communities that need it – like Napier) may not be a bad idea!

    certainly every former mayor for the last 30-odd years who has crowed about “good finances” while allowing assets to degrade – a trend begun by Alan Dick in 1989 and carried on by Barbara Arnott and Bill Dalton, and their councils – should be publicly shamed (tarring and feathering comes to mind) for their dire lack of responsibility and accountability on this issue.

    but the bottom line is that it’s the voters, mindlessly saying “no” to rates rises in the past, who’ve done this to themselves by electing these hand-sitters. classic case of pissing in the water you then have to drink.

  3. For once I have to agree with Bruce Bissett – Napier have crowed for years that they had no debt – the deferred maintenance put the lie to that – and it was continually dredged up when the amalgamation debate was going on. I would doubt that Hastings (or any other area of HB) would want to amalgamate with Napier now until they sort out their finances and infrastructure

  4. It’s not as bad as what happened in Havelock North, nobody has died even though they had to hang on a bit longer. Having said that infrastructure through most of NZ has been neglected for far to long and needs to be attended to ASAP.

  5. The previous comments give true testimony as to every good reason, why the government needs to take over 3 Waters. There should be No place for petty politics, when it comes to people’s health.

  6. I voted against Amalgamation because I foolishly believed that Mayor Dalton and CEO Jack were telling me that Napier’s underground infrastructure
    was safe. They lied to all of Napier’s ratepayers for job security and political expediency. I wish that we could have a re-run of that issue.

  7. We finally have a council and a mayor that cares about our water infrastructure and our water supply. At least they have skin in the game and must face the consequences of mismanagement. Once central government is in control, we’ll have little to no say in the water treatment or the outcomes. We have already seen the outrageous costs put forward for so-called improvements to our water infrastructure and every time these estimates are challenged the costs come down drastically. Do we really think that central government can do a better job or will it be more like jumping out of the frypan and into the fire. We already have seen that the consultants have stated that we have significant water leaks in our network yet our council work found that to be rubbish’s. Consultants are doing no more than lining their own pockets. What we really need is competent water engineers to be employed who have real experience and knowledge in water treatment and not just a background in cooperate water management. We must stop poisonings our community with toxic chemicals and move to modern solutions as is the case with advanced more countries. Chlorination isn’t a solution as has proven in Carterton where E.coli remained in their network for weeks even when the chlorine was applied at highly elevated levels. Chlorine just doesn’t work and is why so many countries no longer rely on chlorination. Chlorine is toxic to human health, is a known carcinogen and has a very negative impact not only our bodies but also on our gardens and our environment. I’m very happy to debate with anyone on the subject in regards to the Napier water, sadly no one has come forward for that debate.

  8. First time I’ve ever agreed with Bruce Bissett, NCC have ignored investment in one of their core functions, in favour of more public pleasing cheaper projects. So have most other councils by the way. Central government shouldn’t be looking to take over, we all know how inept they are operationally. They should be forcing councils to fund infrastructure investment.

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