Local Government Minister Simeon Brown disappointed Wellington councils didn't provide information on extent of water crisis

Simeon Brown has written to two councils in Pōneke/Wellington.
Simeon Brown has written to two councils in Pōneke/Wellington. Photo credit: RNZ.


The Local Government Minister says he is disappointed in Wellington and Upper Hutt councils for failing to provide information on how they were dealing with water leakage and shortage issues in the capital.

Simeon Brown wrote to Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau and Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy, after requesting information from the chair of the Wellington Water Committee on what actions shareholder councils were taking to reduce the possible water shortage.

Much of the Wellington region moved to level 2 water restrictions on Wednesday.

Wellington Water said the decision was made due to very high demand putting pressure on the drinking water supply.

The water services regulator, Taumata Arowai, has said it will step in if the capital runs short of water for drinking and sanitary needs while water restrictions are in place.

In a statement, Brown said other councils in the Wellington region were able to provide the requested information by the deadline of 17 January.

"Both mayors failed to respond to the chair of the Wellington Water Committee's request for this information...," Brown said.

"This information was needed for the chair's response to me."

Brown's questions to the councils included what they were doing to actively consider how to fix leakage issues, increasing supply, and how the short and medium term activity would be funded.

Brown said he would use his powers under the Local Government Act to formally request the information.

He said he wanted the information that councils were taking their obligations to residents and ratepayers seriously.

"The Wellington region is currently in the midst of water restrictions which may have to escalate as summer continues," Brown said.

"Water regulator Taumata Arowai is actively preparing to exercise its powers in the event that a water emergency occurs."