Business model tipped for NZ water supply

High-level discussions are taking place to stop councils providing water services and pass control to a handful of companies run on commercial lines. A senior local government source said one option was to have four or six water and wastewater companies for the whole of New Zealand operating outside the normal council structure.

The model could be the Super City where a council-controlled organisation, Watercare Services, provides water and wastewater services to 1.5 million Aucklanders. It has led to lower water prices and brought forward upgrades in places such as Pukekohe and Helensville.

The reasons for having fewer water providers are understood to include the inability of small councils to afford costly infrastructure and the $58 million debt from the Mangawhai sewage treatment scheme crippling the Kaipara District Council.