Government to repeal Three Waters legislation

The Government will restore council ownership and control of water assets to give much needed clarity to the local government sector by repealing and replacing Labour’s controversial Three Waters legislation, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown says.

“Cabinet has agreed to introduce and pass legislation early next year that will repeal Three Waters legislation. 

“It’s clear the previous government’s approach of removing community control of water assets and prescribing co-governance was hugely unpopular and proposed a one size fits all approach to water services delivery. 

“We are committed to addressing the water infrastructure challenges that are jeopardising our nation’s health and prosperity and driving up costs for households across the country.

“The Coalition Government will instead implement a new regime which recognises the importance of local decision-making and flexibility for communities and councils to determine how their water services will be delivered in future. We will do this while ensuring a strong emphasis on meeting rules for water quality and long-term investment in infrastructure.

“We’ve listened to calls from Mayors around the country for swift action and clarity. Specific provisions in the Bill will address the immediate challenges faced by councils who are currently preparing their 2024-2034 long-term plans under the previous government’s settings, by providing flexibility in setting plans. 

“The Bill will also disestablish the previous government’s Northland and Auckland Water Services Entity, ending any remaining costly and unnecessary activity involved in setting up this body.

“I am writing to Mayors and council chief executives today informing them of our decisions on the way forward, including key principles of the Government’s Local Water Done Well policy which has now started for further development, with key decisions planned for early next year.”