Waikato River Authority calls on Minister to launch inquiry into Auckland’s water infrastructure crisis

The Waikato River Authority is asking the Minister for Local Government, the Hon Nanaia Mahuta, to launch an inquiry into Auckland’s water infrastructure crisis because of the potential impact on the Waikato River.

The Authority is an independent Crown and River Iwi voice on behalf of the river.

Waikato River Authority Iwi Co-Chair Roger Pikia and Crown spokesperson Dylan Tahau say understanding what has happened in Auckland is important for the river which is being asked to pay a bigger price.

“Auckland last year took 17% (Watercare’s 2019 Annual Report) of its water needs from the Waikato River, and is currently taking an estimated 40% (figure from Waikato Regional Council), it is not sustainable for more and more water to be going
out of the Waikato catchment. This is not a Waikato versus Auckland issue, this is a Waikato River issue,” says Mr Pikia.

Dylan Tahau says it is difficult to understand how Auckland’s water infrastructure has got so badly out of step with its growth. “We’re calling for an independent inquiry to help that understanding because the Waikato River now appears to be
central to Auckland’s future water needs,” says Mr Tahau.

Auckland is already taking more water from the Waikato River, under emergency provisions, to help protect its water storage levels. It is also campaigning to fast track consents to take more water from the river in the future.

“We believe the Minister for Local Government is ideally placed to oversee this inquiry. There could well be learnings for other areas from what has happened in Auckland,” says Mr Pikia.