Three Waters Reform Steering Committee Update, 28 January 2021

Return toThree Waters Reform Programme - updates from the Steering Committee

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 forward this update to your colleagues and elected members as appropriate.

Upcoming RFI submissions

Ahead of the 1 February due date for the RFI submissions, the Steering Committee would once again like to acknowledge the hard work of council staff  in advancing our collective understanding of our three waters system. 

The support team have seen many drafts from the council staff working on the submissions over the past week. It is encouraging to see the iterative approach being taken to ensure the most robust final submission is made on 1 February 2021.

Many of you will be keen to see the collated RFI data, subsequent analysis and understand how this will feed into the reform programme.  Next week we should be in a position to share an outline of the steps and timeline for this process.

Kicking off our engagements

A key focus for the Steering Committee as the year gets underway is to support a range of engagements to further test emerging reform proposals ahead of advice to Ministers in April/May this year.

To ensure our communications and engagement with local government, industry experts and communities are robust, we have set up a Steering Committee sub-group to ensure sector perspectives inform this work.

In addition to the workshops (discussed further below and in previous updates), this engagement series will include a variety of in person and online sessions with local government, iwi/Māori, industry experts, and interested parties.

This week the Department of Internal Affairs held the first of two workshops hosted by Infrastructure New Zealand to discuss the reform programme with their members. These are being held in Wellington (27 January), and Auckland (4 February).

The Department has also held a meeting of their iwi/Māori Advisory Group. This group is made up of individuals with an understanding of Te Ao Māori, Matauranga-ā-rohe, and the three waters system.

The Systems Design and Infrastructure Technical Reference Groups are scheduled to their first meetings for 2021 on 3 February ahead of the first full Steering Committee meeting on 9 February.

March workshops

A formal invitation with further details on the workshops, and how to RSVP, will be sent to Mayors, CEs and iwi representatives shortly. However, in the interim for your diary management, all workshop dates and locations are as follows:

  • 9 March – 9.30-4.30, Nelson (Te Tau Ihu), Beachside Conference and Events Centre, 70 Beach Road, Nelson;
  • 11 March – 9.30-4.30, Palmerston North (Zone 3), Conference and Function Centre, 354 Main Street;
  • 12 March – 12.30-4.30, Auckland (Auckland Zone), Auckland Town Hall, 305 Queen Street;
  • 17 March – 9.30-4.30, Wanaka (Zone 6), Lake Wanaka Centre, 89 Ardmore Street;
  • 19 March – 9.30-4.30, Wellington (Zone 4), Rydges Hotel, 75 Featherston Street;
  • 23 March – 9.30-4.30, Christchurch (Zone 5), Addington Racecourse and Events Centre, 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington;
  • 26 March – 9.30-4.30, Rotorua (Zone 2), Holiday Inn, 10 Tryon Street;
  • 30 March – 9.30-4.30, Whangārei (Zone 1), Semenoff Stadium, 51 Okatara Drive.

To enable a more detailed localised discussion on the reform proposals and implications for councils, we encourage you to attend the meeting that corresponds with your LGNZ Zone/region where possible, rather than travel to a workshop on an alternate date/location.

Looking forward

As discussed earlier a key focus of the Steering Committee over the coming months will be to support engagement on the reform proposals ahead of advice to decision makers.

The Steering Committee will meet twice in February, on 9 and 22 February, then will return to our regular monthly meetings after this.

The System Design and the Infrastructure Technical Reference Groups are scheduled to meet twice in both February and March to help progress and further refine detailed policy design and analysis. 

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

*The Joint Three Waters Steering Committee

  • 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.

Ngā mihi,

Three Waters Steering Committee