Wellington City Council set to bring in water meters, cuts to some services, to fix water network

Wellington City Council is planning to bring in water meters and cuts to some services and facilities to help pay for the city's failing water infrastructure.

Councillors held long talks today over how they'll stump up the more than $1 billion needed to repair thousands of leaky pipes. 

The meeting was open to the public who didn't shy away from telling councillors to oppose what's being proposed in the Council's draft long term plan. 

"I strongly urge you all to oppose this plan 100 percent," said one man.

Council has been scrambling to find cash for the water network, and one cost-saving measure identified was to close down the Khandallah Pool.

That prompted an emotional plea from a young mother who attended the meeting. 

"It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever spent time and I know it's very loved by the community," the mum said.

One of council's proposals is to close Khandallah Pool.
One of council's proposals is to close Khandallah Pool. Photo credit: Newshub.

Another proposal was to reduce or cut council's funding of Te Papa Tongarewa.

The museum's chief executive Courtney Johnston said that would have an impact on Wellington's tourism, and be detrimental to the capital's reputation.

Wellington City Council confirmed to Newshub that this specific proposal would not be going ahead.

A rates rise of 15.4 percent was also on the table, but a proper figure couldn't be determined.

After a mammoth meeting, involving hours of back-and-forth between councillors, they decided to make a record investment in water infrastructure.

Mayor Tory Whanau said after hearing from the public, council has prioritised water and increased its funding by $1.8 billion for drinking water and water meters.

That means over 10 years, one in four dollars spent would go on water.

It would be paid for by a reduction in services, like closing the Khandallah Pool and slowing down other projects like the Golden Mile.

The Council is also looking at selling its airport shares to create a new investment fund.

Wellington residents can have their say when consultation opens on April 12.