National Transition Unit

On this page

About the National Transition Unit
Strengthening the workforce
Partnership and collaboration
Indicative timeline for the transition

About the National Transition Unit

The Government has established a National Transition Unit (NTU), for executing the Government’s decisions on Three Waters reform through a consistent and coordinated nationwide approach to transition.

From 1 July 2024, four new water services entities will deliver drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services to people across New Zealand.

From November 2021 to 1 July 2024, the transition from the current system to the new one will take place. The NTU will ensure the transition is efficient, effective and minimises disruption to communities and consumers.

The NTU will deliver a consistent and coordinated nationwide approach to the transition from the 67 councils who are currently responsible for water services to the new system. The NTU will work alongside councils, iwi/Māori, industry and the wider water sector to make the transition successful.

In 2022, the NTU will set up four local establishment entities, which will support the local transition in their area. On 1 July 2024, these four entities will become the four water services entities.

Three Waters transition factsheet [PDF, 167KB]

Overview of the transition [PDF, 265KB]

Strengthening the workforce

The new water services entities will require skilled and capable workforces. Retaining staff and supporting their wellbeing through the change is a key priority. To enable this, all current council employees who work primarily in water services (except senior executives) will be eligible to transfer their employment to the new water services entity in their area on 1 July 2024.

Additionally, the new entities’ work programmes are expected to create significant new opportunities for employment growth, specialisation and increased career opportunities. This offers the chance for a transformation of the sector, and the NTU will work alongside the sector to develop an Industry Transformation Strategy so this chance can be embraced.

Partnership and collaboration

The NTU will partner with iwi/Māori through both the transition and the organisational design of the water services entities, ensuring it honours the Crown’s Treaty obligations.

Iwi/Māori will be supported to contribute to the transition, and a key objective of the wider Three Waters reform programme is to enhance capacity and capability of iwi/Māori in this sector to improve wellbeing.

Councils will continue to be responsible for the delivery of water services until 30 June 2024. They will also play a significant role in the transition to the new water services entities.

The knowledge and expertise of council staff working in water services will strongly inform the structures and processes for the new water services entities. Councils will have regular opportunities to input through advisory and working groups, secondments and other methods. Councils also have a role supporting the nomination of appropriately-qualified people into governance roles to assist with the transition.

Indicative timeline for the transition

Indicative high-level timeline of key transition milestones [PDF, 147KB]

Back to top