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Published 5/04/2023

Wellington Water and Hutt City Council release joint review on Point Howard Slip


Wellington Water and Hutt City Council have released a joint review on the slip on Howard Road in March. The review examined what happened in the weeks and months leading up to the slip and has identified lessons both organisations can learn from and implement.

The review found:

  • Residents were providing accurate and timely information about the status of the leak at Pt. Howard
  • The engineering report that provided an initial geotechnical assessment of the site after the slip, considered that the landslide likely occurred due to a combination of a leaking water pipe and recent rainfall
  • There was an inconsistency in the flow of customer information between Wellington Water and Hutt City which impeded the timely escalation and prioritisation of this leak repair

Hutt City Council and Wellington Water met with residents last night to discuss the review findings and provide an update on the slip and next steps.

Mayor Campbell Barry said that the review provided critical insights for both organisations and improvements to make moving forward.

“On behalf of Council I want to apologise for the inconvenience and disruption residents have had to endure over the past few weeks and the frustration this situation has caused. The residents did a great job of bringing the leaking pipe to Council and Wellington Water’s attention in the weeks prior to the slip.  However, it’s clear from the review, that there were process failures from both organisations with how that information was collected and used. We are committed to doing better. 

“The review outlines the improvements that can be made to these processes at both Wellington Water and Hutt City Council to minimise the risk of these situations occurring in the future. There are some immediate actions we have already taken and some other improvements we can make in the short term. We’re also about to make a significant investment into our customer contact centre technology which will bring big improvements in the way we interact with our residents.

“We’ve also committed to completely replacing the water pipe in Point Howard rather than only repairing the leak. We’re focusing on that as a priority, along with fully opening Howard Road.” 

Wellington Water acting Chief Executive Tonia Haskell says, “Wellington Water is sincerely sorry for not meeting the standards our customers rightly expect of us after reporting a leak such as this. We acknowledge the inconvenience and stress the slip has caused, and we’re taking this issue very seriously.


“Point Howard residents deserve answers on what happened and that’s why we’ve worked swiftly alongside Hutt City Council to complete a review. We are now implementing the recommendations from the review and will take the necessary actions to improve our processes and systems for managing customer requests to rectify this issue.

“As part of the report’s recommendations, we are also amending our approach to prioritising leaks to account for the geography of the location of a leak. While the review was underway, the team made it a priority to identify leaks in similar circumstances to Point Howard and we have since identified and fixed six leaks which required immediate attention.

“Wellington Water is owned by the six councils in the Wellington region. All lessons and improvements implemented from the review will also be shared across the Wellington region in our other council areas.”

The slip occurred on 14 March and resulted in damage to power, gas, and water services as well as Howard Road resulting in restriction to one lane.

You can find the final review and attachments here.

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