Three Waters Steering Committee Update - 25 February 2021

Return toThree Waters Reform Programme

Tēnā koutou katoa,

This email from the joint Central/Local Government Three Waters Steering Committee has been sent to Mayors, Chairs, and Chief Executives only (more information on the Steering Committee is provided at the bottom of this email*).

Please distribute this information within your council

We are approaching a key part of the reform process, where important decisions are to be made. It is vital for council staff and elected members to be fully informed with all the information to help them in this process.

We urge that you share this important information, invites to workshops, and webinars to your elected members, and appropriate colleagues, and encourage them to participate.

However, we understand as a council you may want to supplement our communications with your own information and therefore ask that you cascade this information internally.

Reform programme workshops -- your opportunity to engage and provide feedback

The upcoming Three Waters workshops are intended to provide an opportunity for you, your elected members, council staff, and mana whenua to discuss our most up-to-date thinking on details of the reform proposals.

Placeholders for the workshop dates went out in December and again a couple of times in January. The formal invitations have been sent to all Mayors and Chief Executives on 12 and 18 February attached to this update. We are attaching it once again in case it has been overlooked in the busy start to the year.

The Steering Committee has been working to ensure that the workshop design and content will be relevant to the cross-section of anticipated participants. 

Your feedback at these workshops will influence future advice to decision makers on key reform design features, set to be decided by mid-2021. 

These workshops will include group-based and interactive feedback opportunities on the proposals that will be presented.

This is also an opportunity for you, mana whenua, and your neighbours to come together and discuss these proposals alongside each other. Unfortunately, the format of this forum does not suit in-person and online attendance.

We will, however, make workshop materials available online and will look to provide webinars on areas of technical detail to help in a deeper understanding if identified as necessary. We do note that this is not a substitute for in-person participation at the workshops.

If you are unable to attend the workshop attributed to your zone we strongly encourage you to attend another workshop elsewhere to ensure your feedback is incorporated in our future advice.

If you have not done so already, we ask that you and your colleagues please RSVP to the upcoming workshop you will be attending. This is crucial for planning, set-up, catering and COVID contingency purposes.

Pre-workshop webinars

The upcoming Three Waters workshops will build on previous engagements and information releases and will assume a base-level of understanding of the reform programme objectives and direction.

This week DIA held two pre-workshop webinars to provide a refresher on the reform programme to date and signal what would be discussed during the upcoming workshops.

In total, approximately 150 people attended these two webinars.

Please find attached the presentation materials used for these webinars. Video recordings will be uploaded to the Three Waters Reform Programme webpage alongside these materials over the next few days.

Please encourage elected members and appropriate council staff to review these webinars as background ahead of the workshops.

Looking forward

A key focus of the Steering Committee over the coming months will be to support engagement to test the reform proposals ahead of advice to decision makers.

Following our engagements the teams will work at pace to finalise advice to Ministers, informed by workshop feedback.

We anticipate decisions on the reform proposals to be taken by Cabinet in mid-2021 and communicated to the sector shortly after this.

Over the following months Councils will be supported in engaging with communities on the reforms with a package of information, including likely implications for communities of opting out of the reform process.

Useful resources

  • Information relating to the Steering Committee’s work and the Three Waters Reform Programme can be found here
  • Information relating to the RfI process can be found here
  • Information covering the earlier work of the Three Waters Review can be found here
  • Information relating to the establishment of Taumata Arowai can be found here 

Ngā mihi,

Three Waters Steering Committee