November 2022 - on 11 November the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee issued its report on the Water Services Entities Bill.
The Bill establishes four publicly owned dedicated water services entities that will provide safe, reliable, and efficient water services through improved investment and management.
The Committee considered over 80,000 submissions on this legislation. As a result of submissions, approximately 130 amendments have been made to the Bill. Given the Bill has 228 clauses (plus schedules), the number of changes to address feedback is substantial and significant.
You can find more information in this summary of the proposed(PDF, 160KB) changes or the full Select Committee report on the NZ Parliament website.
For other general information about the reforms visit threewaters.govt.nz.
July 2022 - the Chair of the Government Finance and Expenditure Committee is calling for public submissions on the Water Services Entities Bill. You can make a submission at the New Zealand Parliament Website Water Services Entities Bill. Closes 22 July.
View Upper Hutt City Council's submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee(PDF, 153KB)
June 2022 - on 2 June 2022, the Government announced legislation which will enable the creation of the new Water Services Entities (WSEs). National consultation opened on 10 June 2022.
As well as setting up the new WSEs so they can be ready in two years’ time, the Bill locks in council ownership of the WSEs on behalf of the communities. Councils will have one share per 50,000 people in their area, rounded up – so each council will have at least one share.
The legislation is trying to ensure communities will have a say in the running of the new water organisations through council and iwi oversight, while giving WSEs the financial and operational independence they need to get on with the job. Although the governance and feedback structure is quite complex and convoluted.
Read the Bill online at legislation.govt.nz. You can have your say on the ownership, governance and accountability arrangements of these new entities in the Bill by making a Select Committee submission. Visit parliament.govt.nz to find out more about this process. We are also making a submission.
You will also be able to give your views to the select committee until 22 July 2022.
March 2022 - in March, Councillors voted to sign up to Communities 4 Local Democracy. We’re one of 31 councils representing around 1.5 million people from Cape Reinga to the Waitaki River and from Haast to Mahia. Communities 4 Local Democracy believe that we can do better than the ‘one size fits none’ proposals from Government, and that we can deliver better services while still being affordable and locally responsive.
Communities 4 Local Democracy supports the higher standards being put into place by the Government’s new water regulator Taumata Arowai. Local Government is ready to work together to deliver these improvements while keeping locally focused and responsive services. To find out more and to read the proposal, go to communities4localdemocracy.co.nz
December 2021 - the Government announced the Three Waters Entities Bill will be delayed to give the working group time to recommend changes to governance and accountability. Draft legislation has been prepared and will be made public, giving the working group until 28 February to report back and recommend any changes. The bill would be introduced to Parliament shortly after.
November 2021 - we launched a residents survey to seek feedback from our community on the Government’s decision to go ahead with the Three Waters Reform, despite concern and opposition raised by councils from across the country. The survey closed on 28 November and a report on the results went to Council on 15 December. The Government also named the Three Waters working group and released the terms of reference.
Initially the Government said there would be a community engagement process, where local communities would be given the opportunity to express their views and provide feedback about the Three Waters Reform.
In the most recent announcement, the Minister for Local Government indicated there will not be a local community consultation process. Instead, communities/public will have an opportunity to provide feedback through the select committee process.
October 2021 - the Government announced they would be progressing the Three Waters Reform. You can watch the announcement and read a summary of local Government feedback on the proposal on the DIA website.
September 2021 - Council submitted its feedback to Government on the Three Waters Reform(PDF, 297KB).
July 2020 - along with announcing the Three Waters Reform, the Government also announced an initial funding package of $761 million to provide a post COVID-19 stimulus to maintain and improve water three waters infrastructure, support a three-year programme of reform of local government water service delivery arrangements (reform programme), and support the establishment of Taumata Arowai, the new Waters Services Regulator.
The initial stage (Tranche 1 – Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), Funding Agreement, Delivery Plan and Request for Information (RFI) process, was an opt-in, non-binding approach. It did not require councils to commit to future phases of the reform programme.
We completed the RFI process over Christmas and New Year 2020/21 and the Government has used this information, evidence, and modelling to make preliminary decisions on the next stages of reform and has concluded that the case for change has been made. Here is the full report on the case for change.