Government to consider next steps in three waters reforms

Local Government

Today marks the final day of the two-month long engagement between the Government and local councils on the proposed reforms to New Zealand’s drinking, storm and waste water services.

Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, acknowledged the feedback councils have provided over the engagement period.

“This time was agreed to enable Councils to assess the impact of the proposed reforms on their communities, and the considerable amount of information put forward” said Nanaia Mahuta.

“I acknowledge the wide range of views that have come forward, and want to thank councils who provided constructive feedback for the Government to consider.

“More than 150 meetings and engagements were held with councils, iwi, industry bodies and other stakeholders in August and September to discuss the proposed reforms..

“This follows four years of work on the reforms, including the last 15 months working with local government, industry and iwi through the joint Central-Local Government Steering Committee.

“The challenges facing our water system and services have been around for more than two decades and we need to address them now. We are taking feedback on board, while reaffirming the status quo will not continue. With the passing of the Water Services Act earlier this week, monitoring and enforcement of compliance will increase – communities will not have to put up with second rate water services," said Nanaia Mahuta. 

Work is underway as part of the July Heads of Agreement between the Government and LGNZ to consider refinements to the proposals within the Government’s bottom lines of good governance, partnership with mana whenua, public ownership and operational and financial autonomy.

 “I have been receiving reports throughout this process and expect a final report in the coming weeks, including any advice on changing aspects of the proposals. Cabinet will then consider the next steps for the three waters reforms, including a process for public consultation.

 “This is not the end of discussions between local and central government on these reforms. We are committed to continuing this partnership over the course of the reforms to ensure that present and future generations of New Zealanders have water services that are safe, reliable and affordable," said Nanaia Mahuta.