Joint committee with mana whenua to consider 3 waters reforms
5 July 2021
Council has approved the establishment of a committee of councillors and mana whenua to discuss the impact of the Government’s proposed 3 Waters Reforms and co-ordinate local responses.
The committee will be co-chaired by Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick and a mana whenua representative, and will have recommendatory powers only, making recommendations to the council and to mana whenua in relation to the reforms.
Rotorua Lakes Council’s Te Arawa partnership board, Te Tatau o Te Arawa, will help facilitate the selection process for mana whenua to agree on who their representatives will be.
As part of Central Government’s process to reform the ownership and management of New Zealand’s 3 waters infrastructure and related services, councils will need to make a decision on what is proposed in the coming months. This will include deciding whether to transfer community assets to a new 3 Waters entity that will be responsible for the future provision of these services.
A report presented to the Council at its meeting today [5 July 2021] by Gina Rangi, council’s DCE Te Arawa Partnerships, noted that Council currently has good faith relationships, supported by legally binding commitments, with mana whenua in relation to specific lakes, springs, rivers and other water bodies.
However, there has been no formal process for Council and its mana whenua partners to discuss the 3 Waters Reforms, identify risks and opportunities, and co-ordinate our respective responses to the proposed reforms (and Council’s relationship commitments), Ms Rangi noted.
Understanding the impact of the proposed reforms on existing partnerships between Council and mana whenua, and identifying opportunities for a co-ordinated response to the reforms, will ensure a more robust, well-informed and co-ordinated approach to decision-making by Council and by mana whenua entities, Council was told.
Recommendatory powers were appropriate because this recognises the separate roles and responsibilities of Te Arawa and Council.
This approach is based on ‘mana ōrite’ (separate but equal authority), and provides for the partners’ different roles and responsibilities while still ensuring informed, co-ordinated decision-making, Ms Rangi said.
The new committee will be authorised to:
Consider and make recommendations on the strategic direction of Te Arawa and of Council regarding the proposed 3 Waters Reform;
Consider and making recommendations on the development of Council’s strategies, policies and plans regarding the proposed reforms;
Receive and consider reports from working/strategy groups;
Consider and make recommendations on development of guidelines for decision-making to assist Council in achieving its strategic outcomes in respect of the proposed reform;
Consider and make recommendations on the development of submissions/responses regarding the reforms.
Council voted 8/3 in favour of the following recommendations:
- That Council resolves to establish a committee in accordance with Schedule 7, S30 (1) (a) to:
- That the membership of the Committee be:
- That the mana whenua partnership groups will meet to agree their representatives and will notify Council accordingly.
- That the Committee co-chairs be the Mayor and one of the mana whenua representatives.
- Consider the impacts of the Three Waters Reform on Council’s partnerships with mana whenua,
- Make recommendation to the Council and to mana whenua on the same.
- 5 Councillors namely: Her Worship Mayor Chadwick, Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson, Councillors Tapsell, Raukawa-Tait and Maxwell (with the option of alternates also, to be appointed by Mayor)
- 5 representatives of mana whenua(with the option of alternates also to be appointed )
Councillors Reynold MacPherson, Peter Bentley and Raj Kumar voting against the recommendations.
Establishment of the new committee was the only item on the agenda for today’s Council meeting.
You can view the full report on this matter HERE on Council’s website.
This morning’s meeting was livestreamed and the recording can be viewed HERE on Council’s YouTube channel.