I hereby give notice that an ordinary meeting of the Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum will be held on:

 

Date:

Time:

Meeting Room:

Venue:

 

Thursday, 2 December 2021

6.30pm

This meeting will proceed via Skype for Business. Either a recording or written summary will be uploaded on the Auckland Council website

 

Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum

 

OPEN AGENDA

 

 

 

 

MEMBERSHIP

 

Chairperson

Lisa Whyte

 

Deputy Chairperson

Margaret Miles, QSM, JP

 

Members

Anna Atkinson

 

 

Uzra Casuri Balouch, JP

 

 

Nicholas Mayne

 

 

Brian Neeson, JP

 

 

(Quorum 3 members)

 

 

 

Max Wilde

Democracy Advisor (Upper Harbour Local Board)

 

26 November 2021

 

Contact Telephone: (09) 486 8593

Email: Max.Wilde@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Website: www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

 

 


 


Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum

02 December 2021

 

 

ITEM   TABLE OF CONTENTS                                                                                         PAGE

1          Welcome                                                                                                                         5

2          Apologies                                                                                                                        5

3          Declaration of Interest                                                                                                   5

4          Confirmation of Minutes                                                                                               5

5          Leave of Absence                                                                                                          5

6          Acknowledgements                                                                                                       5

7          Petitions                                                                                                                          5

8          Deputations                                                                                                                    5

8.1     Upper Harbour Youth Council update                                                               5

9          Public Forum                                                                                                                  6

10        Extraordinary Business                                                                                                6

11        Three Waters Economic Regulation Submission                                                      7

12        Consideration of Extraordinary Items

PUBLIC EXCLUDED

13        Procedural Motion to Exclude the Public                                                                 15

C1       Annual Budget 2022/2023 consultation                                                                    15


1          Welcome

 

 

2          Apologies

 

At the close of the agenda no apologies had been received.

 

 

3          Declaration of Interest

 

Members are reminded of the need to be vigilant to stand aside from decision making when a conflict arises between their role as a member and any private or other external interest they might have.

 

 

4          Confirmation of Minutes

 

That the Upper Harbour Local Board:

a)         confirm the ordinary minutes of its meeting, held on Thursday, 5 August 2021, as a true and correct record.

 

 

5          Leave of Absence

 

At the close of the agenda no requests for leave of absence had been received.

 

 

6          Acknowledgements

 

At the close of the agenda no requests for acknowledgements had been received.

 

 

7          Petitions

 

At the close of the agenda no requests to present petitions had been received.

 

 

8          Deputations

 

Standing Order 7.7 provides for deputations. Those applying for deputations are required to give seven working days notice of subject matter and applications are approved by the Chairperson of the Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum. This means that details relating to deputations can be included in the published agenda. Total speaking time per deputation is ten minutes or as resolved by the meeting.

 


 

 

 

8.1       Upper Harbour Youth Council update

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To receive an update on activities by the Upper Harbour Youth Council.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       Zoya Mahmood, Upper Harbour Youth Council Chairperson and Claire Liang representing the Upper Harbour Youth Council, will be in attendance to provide an update on activities.

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Upper Harbour Local Board:

a)      receive the deputation from Zoya Mahmood and Claire Liang, on behalf of the Upper Harbour Youth Council, and thank them for their attendance and presentation.

Attachments

a          Upper Harbour Youth Council presentation................................................... 19

 

 

9          Public Forum

 

A period of time (approximately 30 minutes) is set aside for members of the public to address the meeting on matters within its delegated authority. A maximum of 3 minutes per item is allowed, following which there may be questions from members.

 

At the close of the agenda no requests for public forum had been received.

 

 

10        Extraordinary Business

 

Section 46A(7) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (as amended) states:

 

“An item that is not on the agenda for a meeting may be dealt with at that meeting if-

 

(a)        The local authority by resolution so decides; and

 

(b)        The presiding member explains at the meeting, at a time when it is open to the public,-

 

(i)         The reason why the item is not on the agenda; and

 

(ii)        The reason why the discussion of the item cannot be delayed until a subsequent meeting.”

 


 

 

Section 46A(7A) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 (as amended) states:

 

“Where an item is not on the agenda for a meeting,-

 

(a)        That item may be discussed at that meeting if-

 

(i)         That item is a minor matter relating to the general business of the local authority; and

 

(ii)        the presiding member explains at the beginning of the meeting, at a time when it is open to the public, that the item will be discussed at the meeting; but

 

(b)        no resolution, decision or recommendation may be made in respect of that item except to refer that item to a subsequent meeting of the local authority for further discussion.”


Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum

02 December 2021

 

 

Three Waters Economic Regulation Submission

File No.: CP2021/16990

 

  

Te take mō te pūrongo

Purpose of the report

1.       To provide feedback for inclusion in Auckland Council’s submission on the Economic Regulation and Consumer Protection for Three Waters Services in New Zealand discussion paper.

Whakarāpopototanga matua

Executive summary

2.       On 27 October 2021, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment released a discussion paper, “Economic Regulation and Consumer Protection for Three Waters Services in New Zealand”.

3.       The discussion document describes how the economic regulator is envisioned to operate and what its statutory obligations would be. The discussion document also provides a brief explanation of why economic regulation is required in the face of three waters reform. Finally, it asks for feedback on several topics.

4.       The views of local boards on the proposal are requested by 6 December 2021 to enable those views to influence the overall submission and to be included as an attachment to the council submission.

5.       Final submissions from Auckland Council to Government on this topic are due at 5pm on 20 December 2021.

Ngā tūtohunga

Recommendation/s

That the Upper Harbour Local Board:

a)      provide feedback for inclusion in Auckland Council’s submission on the Economic Regulation and Consumer Protection for Three Waters Services in New Zealand discussion paper.

b)      make the following points in the administrative areas of:

i)     the need for economic regulation

ii)    the type of regulation and who would pay the costs

iii)    what parts of three waters the regulation would apply to

iv)   should the regulation apply to all providers

v)    how and when should regulation be implemented

vi)   what should be the statutory objectives of the regulation regime

vii)  what should compliance and enforcement look like

viii)  who the economic regulator should be

ix)   whether we need additional consumer protections and how those are regulated

c)      make the following points in the policy areas of:

i)        how the regulator should liaise with local government to ensure the growth aspirations of Auckland are met

ii)       how the regulator should liaise with local government to ensure the social, cultural, and environmental aspirations of Auckland are met.

Horopaki

Context

6.       On 27 October 2021, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) released a discussion paper, “Economic Regulation and Consumer Protection for Three Waters Services in New Zealand”.

7.       The issues of economic regulation and consumer protection for three waters services in New Zealand is related, but separate, to the broader issue of the Water Services Bill. They require separate submissions as they are two different processes run by two different bodies and on different timeframes. There is a separate process to provide feedback about the reform in general. This process is to provide feedback on only the proposed economic regulation.

8.       According to central government, economic regulation will have a crucial role to play in driving the level of efficiency that will be required to keep water services affordable in the long run.

9.       Economic regulation ensures that the best outcomes for consumers will occur when there are monopoly markets, and the suppliers have a large amount of market power.

10.     In this case, it is proposed that the economic regulator will also act as the consumer protection regulator and be funded through levies.

11.     It is proposed that the Commerce Commission act in both capacities to regulate the newly-formed three waters industry in New Zealand after the Water Services Bill is enacted.

12.     The discussion document describes how the economic regulator is envisioned to operate and what its statutory obligations would be. The discussion document also provides a brief explanation of why economic regulation is required in the face of three waters reform. Finally, it asks for feedback on several topics.

Tātaritanga me ngā tohutohu

Analysis and advice

13.     What follows is a short summary of the discussion document and the areas where feedback is sought through the submissions process.

What is economic regulation and why do we need it?

14.     Economic regulation protects consumers from the problems that can occur in markets with little or no competition and/or a large amount of market power. The regulation is intended to make businesses in the market behave similarly to how they would in a competitive market.

15.     Utilities tend to be what is known as a “natural monopoly”. These markets are more cheaply served by one firm rather than many because of massive fixed costs.

16.     Without regulation, markets with natural monopolies tend to have higher prices and/or lower outputs and/or lower output quality.

17.     While consumer involvement in the governance of natural monopolies is helpful, it is not sufficient to ensure the best outcomes for consumers. Consumer involvement must work in concert with regulation.

18.     Ultimately, the purpose of economic regulation is to advance the long-term interests of consumers. This ensures that suppliers deliver high-quality services that reflect consumer demand and incentivises improved efficiency. It also ensures any gains by the suppliers are passed through to the consumers.

What type of regulation is being proposed and who would pay the costs?

19.     There are several types of regulation – price-quality, information disclosure, and quality-only. In this case, it is proposed that the regulator be a price-quality regulator.

20.     Price-quality regulators essentially set upper limits on the price that can be charged by the supplier while setting lower limits on the quality of service that must be delivered.

21.     Typically, price-quality regulators operate on regulatory cycles of four to six years. It is proposed that the economic regulator operate on a five-year cycle, with the possibility of the first regulatory cycle being shorter.

22.     Economic regulation has costs. These costs come from two places. On one hand, the economic regulator costs money to operate and administer. On the other hand, the suppliers incur compliance costs to meet the requirements of the regulator.

23.     It is proposed that the administrative costs of the regulator be recovered through levies. This is a straightforward, transparent, and standard way of recovering these costs. Ultimately these costs are borne by the consumers.

24.     The cost to the supplier of complying with regulation is also ultimately borne by the consumers. Since both categories of regulatory costs are borne by the consumers, it is necessary to design the regulations to ensure they are net beneficial to consumers.

25.     Given the amalgamation proposed by the Water Services Bill will increase the market power of the water providers, it is likely that regulation is necessary. Further, the research for the Water Services Bill finds that even the current absence of profit motives, and the obligations to promote the social, cultural, environmental, and financial wellbeing of communities has been insufficient to ensure delivery of effective and efficient three waters service. Put another way, there is probably a case for economic regulation, even in the absence of the proposed three waters amalgamation.

26.     Thus, the MBIE’s recommendation is that three waters be price-quality regulated.

27.     However, there is also a question as to whether the regulation should be applied generically across all suppliers or tailored to individual suppliers. Given the inflexibility of generic regulation and Government’s strong commitment to water service quality, it is recommended that the price-quality regulation be flexible to allow for different incentives to the different suppliers.

What parts of three waters should regulation apply to?

28.     The delivery of stormwater services is fundamentally different to drinking water and wastewater.

29.     While drinking water and wastewater services are delivered directly to the beneficiaries (that is, the person drinking the water or flushing the toilet), stormwater services have a public good element as well. When the stormwater in one area is managed, it could make other areas less likely to flood, for instance. This means that it is difficult to identify and charge the consumers of stormwater services.

30.     Additionally, while drinking water and wastewater infrastructure is easily identified, stormwater infrastructure is more difficult. Stormwater systems are often integrated into roading networks, use natural topographical features, and are owned by various land holders and infrastructure providers.

31.     Internationally, when stormwater systems are operated alongside drinking water and wastewater, they tend to be economically regulated.

32.     The preliminary view put forward by the MBIE is that stormwater should be economically regulated, but it will be less straightforward to demonstrate that it is net beneficial.

Should the regulation apply to all providers?

33.     Three waters reform is proposed to result in four main entities serving approximately 85% of the population. The remainder would be served by small community or private schemes, or through self-supply. A recent study for Taumata Arowai suggested that there could be between 75,000 and 130,000 unregistered drinking water suppliers.

34.     None of these small-scale suppliers serves more than 5,000 customers. There are only three non-defense force suppliers that serve between 500 and 5,000 customers. 

35.     For even smaller (less than 500 customers) providers, it is likely that the owners of three waters supplier and the consumers of the services are largely the same people. Therefore, it is less critical to have a regulatory framework to ensure consumer wellbeing.

36.     Since the goal of the reform is to further consumer wellbeing, these other suppliers should only be regulated if the cost of regulation is outweighed by the benefits.

37.     Given the small scale and relatively high compliance costs, the MBIE has recommended that regulatory framework only apply to the new water service entities created by the Water Services Bill.

How and when should regulation be implemented?

38.     To be effective, price-quality regulation requires high quality information on the assets, costs and quality of service provided by regulated suppliers. However, the Three Waters Reform Programme has found that the scope and quality of the available information is not currently at the level that would be required to implement an effective economic regulation regime.

39.     Because of this information gap, it is unlikely that the regulatory regime would be operational by the time the new three waters entities are set to begin operation in 1 July 2024.

40.     However, starting the new entities operations without a regulatory framework in place poses its own risk.

41.     Therefore, the Government’s recommendation is that there should be a graduated approach to implementing a conventional cost-based price-quality path, with the first regulatory pricing period beginning 1 July 2027. In the interim the industry would improve its data and the regulator would work with the industry on information disclosure.

42.     This interim period from 1 July 2024 through to 30 June 2027 would leave the supplies unregulated in terms of price-quality. There are two potential solutions to this gap. The first is that the regulator impose a price-quality path based on incomplete information but using its best judgment. The second option is that an interim price-quality path be implemented by government. There are significant pros and cons to each option and the MBIE is seeking feedback on this issue.

What should be the statutory objectives of the regulation regime?

43.     Recently in New Zealand, regulatory regimes are set to achieve four goals.

a)     There must be incentives to innovate and invest

b)     There should be incentives to improve efficiency

c)     That the efficiency gains must be shared with consumers

d)     Lastly, suppliers are limited in their ability to turn profits. This point is irrelevant to the three waters reform scenario.

44.     However, there is scope for the economic regulator to have responsibility for a broader range of objectives (including issues such as climate change and Te mana o te Wai).

45.     There is also a question as to how Te Tiriti o Waitangi considerations factor into the design of any economic regulatory regime for the three waters sector.

46.     The MBIE seeks feedback on what the precise role of the economic regulator should be and whether it should be expanded in the ways described above.

What should compliance and enforcement look like?

47.     Compliance and enforcement are essential for regulation to be effective.

48.     An economic regulator’s compliance and enforcement toolkit typically includes education initiatives, warning letters, infringement offences, pecuniary penalties, enforceable undertakings, and other civil remedies such as out-of-court settlements.

49.     The MBIE is seeking feedback on whether there needs to be any other tools in the toolkit.

Who should the economic regulator be?

50.     To be effective, regulators need to be at arms-length from government, transparent, accountable, credible, freely share information, and act in a coordinated way with policy agencies.

51.     There are three potential options for the economic regulator: Taumata Arowai, the Commerce Commission, or a new regulatory authority created specifically for economic regulation of three waters.

52.     The MBIE’s multi-criteria analysis suggests that the Commerce Commission is best suited to be the economic regulator. 

Do we need additional consumer protections and how are those regulated?

53.     Due to the nature of the three waters sector, there may be other consumer protections required. There likely needs to be rules around the acceptable likelihood and duration of supply outages, the acceptable level of leakage from reticulated supply networks, the level of resilience to natural and man-made hazards, and the amount of innovation and efficiencies delivered to consumers.

54.     These protections will be required because three waters is a natural monopoly and consumers cannot go elsewhere when unhappy with their service.

55.     Importantly, the current democratic, consultation, and governance mechanisms that are provided for in the Local Government Act 2002 will not apply to the proposed new Water Services Entities. In addition, the Ombudsman’s current role in dealing with complaints about local government agencies will cease.

56.     These points suggest that regulation needs to consider these angles of consumer protection above and beyond the standard roles of an economic regulator.

57.     There is also a need for additional protections for vulnerable consumers. It is recommended that that there should be a positive obligation on the regulator to consider interests of vulnerable consumers, and that minimum service level requirements are flexible enough able to accommodate a wide range of approaches to addressing consumer harm and vulnerability.

 

 

58.     The MBIE is seeking feedback on how the consumer protection regime could be designed in a way that contributes to equitable outcomes and mitigates unintended impacts on Māori. This includes impacts on different iwi/hapū, Māori landowners, urban Māori consumers, and rural Māori consumers. Additionally, views are sought on how the consumer protection regulator could be expected to consider Treaty obligations, and the cultural competency of the economic regulator to recognise the significance of water as a taonga for Māori.

59.     As with economic regulation, a multi-criteria analysis suggests that the Commerce Commission should be the consumer protection regulator.

How should consumer disputes be resolved?

60.     There are several ways that consumer disputes can be resolved.

61.     The preliminary preferred option put forward by the MBIE is for mandatory provision of consumer dispute resolution services, but feedback is sought as to whether this should be achieved through a new scheme or by expanding the mandate of an existing scheme.

62.     Traditionally, vulnerable populations face difficulties in accessing dispute resolution schemes. Therefore, it is important that both suppliers and the dispute resolution provider ensure that underserved and vulnerable communities can participate in processes that affect them including dispute resolution processes.

Local Board Feedback

63.     While the MBIE has posed 46 questions to submitters in the discussion document, only a few are acutely relevant. The following 11 questions are the most critical for the council family to provide feedback:

a)      What are your views on whether the stormwater networks that are currently operated by local authorities should be economically regulated, alongside drinking water and wastewater?

b)      Do you consider that the economic regulation regime should be implemented gradually from 2024 to 2027, or do you consider that a transitional price-quality path is also required?

c)      If you consider a transitional price-quality path is required, do you consider that this should be developed and implemented by an independent economic regulator, or by Government and implemented through a Government Policy Statement?

d)      What are your views on how Treaty of Waitangi principles, as well as the rights and interests of iwi/Māori, should be factored into the design of an economic regulatory regime for the three waters sector?

e)      Who do you consider should have primary responsibility for determining the structure of three waters prices: a. The Water Services Entity, following engagement with their governance group, communities, and consumers; b. The economic regulator; or c. The Government or Ministers?

f)       Who do you think is the most suitable body to be the economic regulator for the three waters sector? Please provide reasons for your view.

g)      What are your views on whether minimum service level requirements should be able to vary across different types of consumers?

h)      What are your views on whether the regulatory regime should include a positive obligation to protect vulnerable consumers, and that minimum service level requirements are flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of approaches to protecting vulnerable consumers?

i)        What are your views on how Treaty of Waitangi principles, as well as the rights and interests of iwi/Māori, should be factored into the design of a consumer protection regime for the three waters sector?

j)        Do you agree with the preliminary view that the Commerce Commission is the most suitable body to be the consumer protection regulator for the three waters sector?

k)      Do you consider that there should be special considerations for traditionally under-served or vulnerable communities? If so, how do you think these should be given effect?

64.     A recommendation requesting the views of local boards on the proposal is included in this report.

65.     Local board views are requested by 6 December 2021 to enable those views to influence the overall submission and to be included as an attachment to the council submission.

Tauākī whakaaweawe āhuarangi

Climate impact statement

66.     The discussion paper acknowledges that addressing climate change challenges and ensuring water service resilience is one of the drivers of the overall Three Waters Reform. However, the economic regulation regime is not being considered for these reasons directly.

67.     The proposed economic regulation framework does not have direct impacts on greenhouse gas emissions or climate. However, it may be in the purview of the regulator to ensure consumer expectations are met with regards to environmental and climate outcomes.

Ngā whakaaweawe me ngā tirohanga a te rōpū Kaunihera

Council group impacts and views

68.     Relevant council departments and council-controlled organisations have been identified and contributions will be sought from them in developing the council group’s response to the Economic Regulation and Consumer Protection for Three Waters Services in New Zealand discussion paper.

69.     While overall three waters reform will have a direct impact on council and council-controlled organisations, economic regulation put in place after that reform will not have any impact on council or remaining council-controlled organisations.

Ngā whakaaweawe ā-rohe me ngā tirohanga a te poari ā-rohe

Local impacts and local board views

70.     Local board views are sought as part of the development of the council’s submission and will be reported back to Governing Body. Local board resolutions will be included as part of council’s submission. 

Tauākī whakaaweawe Māori

Māori impact statement

71.     The overall three waters reform is, in part, to recognise and provide for iwi/Māori rights and interests with a specific focus on service delivery. It is proposed that iwi/Māori will have a greater role in the new Three Waters system, including pathways for enhanced participation by whānau and hapū as these services relate to their Treaty rights and interests.

72.     On a price-quality basis, economic regulation of the three waters industry does not directly impact on Māori any differently than other three waters services consumers. However, the overall three waters reform and specific topics within the economic regulation of three waters are likely to be of significant interest. In particular, how treaty obligations are considered, the recognition of water as taonga for Māori, and the overrepresentation of Māori in the group of consumers vulnerable to price shocks.

73.     Māori outcomes leads within the council family are being consulted on these topics.

Ngā ritenga ā-pūtea

Financial implications

74.     The submission can be developed within existing budget provision and as part of business-as-usual central government advocacy activity.

Ngā raru tūpono me ngā whakamaurutanga

Risks and mitigations

75.     There is little risk in making a submission on the economic regulation of three waters. Conversely, there is high risk if we do not make a submission. As the work programme progresses, staff can provide further information about the potential impacts on council’s activities.

Ngā koringa ā-muri

Next steps

76.     The office of the Chief Economist is current drafting a submission on behalf of Auckland Council.

77.     Staff are preparing a report for the Governing Body seeking a delegation of Governing Body members to approve the council’s submission.

78.     The views of local boards on the proposal are requested by the 6 December 2021 to enable those views to influence the overall submission and to be included as an attachment to the council submission.

79.     The deadline for the final submission to Government is 20 December 2021.

 

Ngā tāpirihanga

Attachments

There are no attachments for this report.      

Ngā kaihaina

Signatories

Author

Shane Martin - Senior Economist

Authorisers

Jim Stabback - Chief Executive

Lesley Jenkins - Local Area Manager

 


Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum

02 December 2021

 

 

Exclusion of the Public: Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987

That the Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum

a)      exclude the public from the following part(s) of the proceedings of this meeting.

The general subject of each matter to be considered while the public is excluded, the reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter, and the specific grounds under section 48(1) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 for the passing of this resolution follows.

This resolution is made in reliance on section 48(1)(a) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 and the particular interest or interests protected by section 6 or section 7 of that Act which would be prejudiced by the holding of the whole or relevant part of the proceedings of the meeting in public, as follows:

 

C1       Annual Budget 2022/2023 consultation

Reason for passing this resolution in relation to each matter

Particular interest(s) protected (where applicable)

Ground(s) under section 48(1) for the passing of this resolution

The public conduct of the part of the meeting would be likely to result in the disclosure of information for which good reason for withholding exists under section 7.

s7(2)(c)(i) - The withholding of the information is necessary to protect information which is subject to an obligation of confidence or which any person has been or could be compelled to provide under the authority of any enactment, where the making available of the information would be likely to prejudice the supply of similar information or information from the same source and it is in the public interest that such information should continue to be supplied.

In particular, the report contains information covered in confidential Finance and Performance Committee workshops and information relating to the draft Mayoral proposal which has not been finalised or released publicly. This report can be made publicly available on 9 December 2021 once the final Mayoral Proposal and the material relating to the annual budget is available following the Finance and Performance Committee meeting on 8 December 2021

s48(1)(a)

The public conduct of the part of the meeting would be likely to result in the disclosure of information for which good reason for withholding exists under section 7.

 


Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum

02 December 2021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS

 

Item 8.1      Attachment a    Upper Harbour Youth Council presentation    Page 19


Upper Harbour Local Board Community Forum

02 December 2021

 

 

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator

PDF Creator