Steering Committee Update - Thursday, 8 October 2020

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Tēnā koutou katoa,

This email is from the joint Central/Local Government Three Waters Steering Committee. It has been sent to Mayors, Chairs, and Chief Executives only, and should be shared with your colleagues as appropriate.

The Committee was formed following agreement, at the Prime Minister’s Central/Local Government Forum in mid-May, between senior Government Ministers and LGNZ’s National Council to work in partnership towards three waters service delivery reform.

It comprises Mayors, Chief Executives, Regional Council and Te Maruata representation as well as the Society of Local Government Managers, Local Government New Zealand, the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Treasury.

The Committee provides oversight and guidance and works to ensure that a broad range of interests and perspectives are considered through the reform process.

These updates are posted to the Three Waters Reform webpage where you will also find key documents relating to the Steering Committee’s work and to the overall three waters reform programme: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Three-Waters-Reform-Programme  

Request for Information process

Shortly, the Department of Internal Affairs will be sending out a Request for Information (RfI) as part of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Reform Programme.

The information requested under this RfI will help to develop a better understanding of the current state of assets and infrastructure and enable important comparisons in analysing options for service delivery reform.

We appreciate the work that will be involved in this RfI and are putting in place support to assist local authorities complete this part of the process.

More information will be provided when the RfI is issued to clarify the information requirements, how it will inform the reform programme, process for Councils to follow and support that will be made available to enable them to respond.

Iwi/Māori engagement

The Department of Internal Affairs and Taumata Arowai are approaching the final week of the current series of hui with iwi, hapū and Māori groups across the motu.

The hui are designed to gain a more comprehensive understanding of iwi/Māori Treaty interests and perspectives on the Three Waters Reform Programme as well as the regulatory work of Taumata Arowai.

Fifteen hui have now been completed. There has been significant variation in attendance, but the conversations have been extremely valuable and informative. They place Taumata Arowai and the Reform Programme well for ongoing engagement.

Materials from these hui can be found under the Key documents on the Reform Programme website – see Iwi/Māori Engagement (September 2020) section. Taumata Arowai and DIA will also look to report back on what they have heard through this series of discussions. A summary document will be made available on both websites.

This understanding is essential to, and will inform, the Steering Committee’s ongoing work.

The hui are just one part of an ongoing discussion with our Treaty partners that must be woven into this reform. It is important that both central and local government have these kōrero with our mana whenua partners as the reform progresses.

The recording from the introductory webinar to this series of hui was recorded and is available on the reform programme webpage here: Taumata Arowai and Three Waters Reform Programme iwi/Māori pre-workshop introductory webinar recording (link to YouTube video).

Funding Agreements and Delivery Plans

Councils have submitted their draft Three Waters Stimulus Grant Delivery Plans and Funding Agreements to the Department and Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) for review and approval.

The Department and CIP are reviewing the documentation to ensure funding requirements are satisfied and proposed three waters projects meet reform and stimulus objectives.

Contingent on approval of Delivery Plans to the Government’s satisfaction, we expect councils to start receiving their first advance of allocated stimulus funding from early November 2020.

If you have not done so already, please ensure your council has provided the Three Waters Direct Credit Authorisation Form to the ThreeWaters@dia.govt.nz inbox.

Summary of Steering Committee meetings

We have published summaries of our Steering Committee meetings dating back to 8 June 2020 on the Three Waters Reform Programme website – see the Updates from the Steering Committee section.

In the interest of transparency, we will look to publish these summaries as soon as practicable following our meetings.

While many papers the Committee receives are working drafts and not fit for distribution, we are committed in ensuring you have access to information as promptly as possible.

In addition to posting all available papers on the Reform Programme website, we will look to send them directly to you though this email channel when suitable for distribution.

The Steering Committee’s next meeting will be held on 3 November 2020.

Guidance on participation in the reform programme

On 25 September we distributed guidance on council participation in the reform programme. If you missed this update, you may find this here: Steering Committee update – 25 September 2020

In addition to ensuring all councils had access to information on matters frequently traversed with Crown Infrastructure Partners on the Delivery Plans, this guidance (PDF, 960KB) also provided a guide to where councils can best put your energy in your regional discussions during these early phases of the reform.

Ngā mihi,

Three Waters Steering Committee

Email: 3WatersSteeringGroup@dia.govt.nz