Archived Three Waters Reform Programme information and key documents – 2020-2021

This page contains archived information from the Three Waters Reform Programme webpage.

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Joint Three Waters Steering Committee
Updates from the Steering Committee
Funding package 
Key Documents
Sector Engagement
Iwi/Māori Engagement
Archived documents
Media releases
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Three Waters Steering Committee

At the May 2020 Central/Local Government Forum, central and local government leadership discussed challenges facing New Zealand’s water service delivery and infrastructure, and committed to working jointly on reform.

The Joint Three Waters Steering Committee has been established to provide oversight and guidance to support progress towards reform, and to assist in engaging with local government, iwi/Māori and other water sector stakeholders on options and proposals.

The Steering Committee comprises independent chair Brian Hanna, local government mayors, chairs and chief executives, representatives of Local Government New Zealand and Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa (formerly SOLGM), officials and advisors from the Department of Internal Affairs, Taumata Arowai, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Treasury.

The Steering Committee ensures the perspectives, interests and expertise of both central and local government, and of communities throughout New Zealand are considered, while the challenges facing water services and infrastructure are addressed.

The Steering Committee is supported by a secretariat made up of advisors and officials from Local Government New Zealand,  Taituarā — Local Government Professionals Aotearoa, the Department of Internal Affairs, and the Treasury. This secretariat is hosted by the Department of Internal Affairs, and can be contacted via email at:

Reform programme and funding package

In July 2020, the Government announced funding to provide immediate covid stimulus package to maintain and improve water networks infrastructure, and to support a three-year programme of reform of local government water services delivery arrangements.

Central and Local Government considered it timely to apply targeted infrastructure stimulus investment to enable improvements to water service delivery, progress reform in partnership, and ensure the period of economic recovery following COVID-19 supports a transition to a productive, sustainable economy.

All eligible councils signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and associated Funding Agreement and Delivery Plan for the first stage of the Three Waters Services Reform Programme. 

The Department of Internal Affairs and Crown Infrastructure Partners have reviewed and approved all 67 Delivery Plans for councils’ use of Three Waters funding allocations. All councils have received an initial three waters stimulus funding instalment (50 per cent of their total allocation), totalling $261.5 million.

The remaining $261.5 million will be released to councils in instalments, on the achievement of milestones linked to the completion of defined activities.

In addition to the allocation of stimulus funding for local government, Cabinet agreed to allocate $30 million to support rural drinking water suppliers, including marae, to meet drinking water standards. We expect this funding to be allocated in 2021.

Sector Engagement

In July/August 2020 the Steering Committee held a series of engagements with local government and iwi/Māori partners to discuss the process to access the stimulus funding, and an overview of the reform programme’s direction of travel.  

This first engagement provided a forum for councils considering signing up to the reform programme to raise issues and work through questions ahead of signing the MoU. 

See the Archived Documents section below for materials produced as part of this engagement.

Iwi/Māori interests and engagement

The Department of Internal Affairs held a series of hui and workshops with iwi/Māori through the Three Waters Review and the establishment of Taumata Arowai. Engagement on the proposed three waters reform built on these previous engagements with iwi/Māori to more fully understand Treaty rights of interests over the course of the reform period.

In August/September 2020. The Department of Internal Affairs and Taumata Arowai held a series of hui-ā-motu across New Zealand with iwi/hapū/Māori groups to provide an early look at the reform programme and discuss rights and interests in the reforms ahead of policy development.

See the Archived Documents section section below for materials produced as part of this engagement.

Archived documents

Key Documents

Cabinet Papers and Minutes


Sector Engagement

Iwi/Māori Engagement (October 2020)


Funding Allocations

Funding Agreement and Delivery Plan

Previous Cabinet Papers and Minutes

Updates from the Steering Committee

Steering Committee meeting summaries

2020 Media Releases

Contact us

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