Answer

Wellington’s old pipes need modernising, which was overdue well before the Spatial Plan. While councils bear a lot of the responsibility for delayed maintenance, NZ’s system of funding for infrastructure like water and sewerage pipes is not fit-for-purpose, and any city’s initiatives must be seen in that context. Having said that, the single most efficient way to fund upgrades and maintenance of “horizontal infrastructure” (roads, pipes and suchlike) is by having lots of people living near them.  This increased value being got from the land means more people helping pay for the infrastructure that enables them to live, work and play there. The Spatial Plan enables better efficiency in infrastructure investment by concentrating growth around existing centres, and making forward planning easier.  The Council and central government have a programme of work in place to upgrade Wellington’s pipes, which is under the umbrella of the nationwide Three Waters Reform.  Finally, newer buildings with denser use can also be made more water-friendly, with things like retention systems [PDF] for stormwater and sewage reducing the burden on the pipes.