Mark Brown, who is also Finance minister, said he hoped to complete the meetings to deliberate on the grievances raised, with the other select committee members by August.
A report will then be filed in the parliament in time for the second sitting of the year, he said.
The select committee which will consider the grievances and concerns of the petitioners over the TMV project in the light of its current status and progress so far, includes deputy prime minister Teariki Heather, Internal Affairs minister Albert Nicholas and Agriculture minister Kiriau Turepu from the government side. The opposition members include Ngamau Munokoa, George Angene, Selina Napa and James Beer.
“I think the select committee process will support the current meetings that the government is going to hold with landowners and will support the proposals that we have put through to allow construction work to happen,” Brown said.
“Already, the initial discussions we are having with the landowners is very positive on looking at a joint management approach to the water intakes themselves.
“If we can reach a majority consensus on the issues that they want to be addressed on things like water charges, ensuring the land is not taken by warrant and making sure the water authority is not privatised in future years, those are the key issues that they wanted to be addressed.”
Brown said some environmental concerns had also been raised about ensuring the water catchment area behind the intakes were protected.
“We will be working with landowners, the environment council and the National Environment Service to capture these concerns and put them in a draft agreement which then can go before the court for ratification to enable the construction to start.”
One of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects in the recent years, the TMV project is worth about $60 million and has been in the spotlight since work started in 2014.
About 90 per cent of stage one works, which concentrated on the upgrade of the water supply ring mains has already been completed well within the contract time.
Stage two work, which includes upgrades of up to 12 intakes and includes installation of treatment facilities, reservoir storage, and the upgrade of inlet mains from each intake to the ring main system, is expected to start once an agreement between the landowners and the government is reached.
TMV, the project to improve the quality of water supply is funded by Cook Islands and New Zealand government and spearheaded by the Chinese Civil Engineering and Construction Company.