Buller District Council

Media Release- Ngakawau Hector Water Supply

25th November, 2019

Council and the Ngakawau Hector Water Society Incorporated (the Society) have been in dispute about the ownership of the Ngakawau Hector Water Supply (the Scheme) for many
years. Council has engaged with the Society and has been willing to consider options, but has been unable to reach an agreement.

In 2016, Council requested that Buddle Findlay lawyers carry out a legal review on theownership of the Scheme, which opened in the 1950’s. Buddle Findlay concluded that
Council owns the Scheme. The Society did not accept the legal conclusions.

Therefore, Council instructed Fletcher Vautier Moore (FVM) lawyers to review Buddle Findlay’s findings. FVM considers that Council has been providing the water service with
assistance from the community, and agreed with Buddle Findlay’s conclusion that Council owns the Scheme.

FVM has advised Council that the Local Government Act 2002 imposes obligations relating to the provision of the water service. The effect of section 130 of that Act is that, where the
Council has been providing a water service to a community, the Council must continue to provide that service and cannot divest itself of ownership of the Scheme.

The Health Act 1956 imposes a range of duties on drinking water suppliers, including duties to monitor drinking water and to take all practicable steps to comply with drinking water
standards.

All drinking water suppliers, other than self‐suppliers, must be registered on the Drinking Water Register for New Zealand. In 2018, the register was changed to record that the
Society is the drinking water supplier for the Scheme.

Council has received the views of the Society on ownership, and a report will be presented to Council at its next meeting on 27 November 2019.

 

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