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Published 24/05/2024

Wellington Water apologises for error in budget advice

Wellington Water has apologised to shareholding councils for an error made in the advice provided to councils for their draft 2024-34 Long-Term Plans (LTP) 


As part of our work to support our councils’ LTPs we provide them with advice on their capital programme for water assets. When undertaking this work for the 2024-34 LTP, we did not include the 6% corporate cost for the major projects part of the programme for the first three years of delivery,” says Wellington Water CE Tonia Haskell.   


“This was an error, and we apologise unreservedly to our councils for this oversight.” 


The corporate cost is an essential charge that covers Wellington Water’s overhead costs, which includes project and corporate support. 


In a regional capital programme of over $900M, the error means we now need to account for a gap of approximately $51M for the first three years of the programme. 


“This has not met the expectations of our shareholding councils, and it has not met the expectations we set ourselves,” says Wellington Water Board Director Pat Dougherty. “We acknowledge the impact this has on councils, particularly at this late stage of their LTP process. Again, we apologise for this.” 


“Our team has been working hard with councils over the last few months on their LTPs and to discover this error this late in the game is gutting for them,” says Tonia.  


We have proposed to councils that we will work to mitigate the impact of this within the programme rather than ask ratepayers for additional funding for the impacted period. This means we can adjust the pace of the work over a slightly longer period to account for this oversight,” says Tonia. 


“We feel well placed to manage the programme to account for this. We have a good delivery track record, and we will work to smooth and de-risk the programme for each council.” 


“The Board has decided to appoint an independent party to work with staff to review what has happened and provide recommendations for improvements,” says Pat. “The results will be reported to the Board and allow us to advise our councils on the steps we are taking to ensure this will not happen again. 


We are aiming to present this report to the next meeting of the Wellington Water Committee in late July.” 

We are now working with each of our councils on possible options to manage the gap. This will impact each council in different ways and councils will need to make their own decisions on what works for them. For example, Greater Wellington Regional Council, has decided to make a late change to the LTP.  


Impact on councils

Wellington Metropolitan Region Three-Year LTPs


Total Programme

Additional charges to recover

Greater Wellington Regional Council



Hutt City Council



Porirua City Council



Upper Hutt City Council



Wellington City Council



Regional Totals



This table does not include SWDC who are doing an annual plan 2024/25.

Numbers have been rounded up to 1 decimal point.

South Wairarapa District Council One-Year Programme


Total Programme

Additional charges to recover

South Wairarapa District Council



Note: SWDC are doing an annual plan 2024/25 and will develop a LTP in 2025.

Editor notes

Wellington Water is owned and fully funded by Wellington City Council, Hutt City Council, Porirua City Council, and Upper Hutt City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and South Wairarapa District Council. All six councils are equal shareholders.

Our councils own the water infrastructure in the region, and they task us to manage the infrastructure and deliver water services to our communities.

Wellington Water is governed by a Board of Directors. The Board and our organisation receive overall leadership and direction from the Wellington Water Committee, which are also responsible for appointing members to the Board.

The Wellington Water Committee is made up of representatives from our council owners and mana whenua.

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