Three Waters Reform Steering Committee Update, 10 December 2020

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 on to your colleagues and elected members as appropriate.

Summer break arrangements

2020 has been a long hard year for us all. The Steering Committee would like to acknowledge the leadership you have all shown in taking this opportunity to work in partnership with central government to tackle this intergenerational challenge.

We would like to wish you all a restful summer break with your friends and whānau. However, we acknowledge your role as community leaders doesn’t always stop over the summer holidays. To lighten your load during this period, the Committee has attached some key messages about the Three Waters Reforms that you are welcome to use as necessary.

Please feel free to share these with your comms staff and make edits as you deem appropriate to reflect your particular circumstances.

Next week’s update will be the final weekly email from the Steering Committee for 2020. We will resume weekly updates in the week of 11 January 2020.

Reporting on your stimulus funding

All councils have now received the first instalment of their stimulus funding.

As in your funding agreement, councils will need to report on progress quarterly.  

Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIP) have produced an easy to use reporting template for the stimulus funding which will be shared with your council lead this week.

DIA has also provided some flexibility to the timing of the first of these reports to reflect the early stages of these projects.  The deadline for the first quarterly report is now 1 February 2021.

The reporting template will be published on the Three Waters Reform webpage next week.

Throughout December and January, CIP will work with you to identify and agree milestones to include in future reporting.

2021 engagement series

As you may be aware, the Department of Internal Affairs, in partnership with the Steering Committee, will be undertaking another series of engagement on the reform programme in March 2021.

This early 2021 engagement will be undertaken as a programme of engagements with some pre, and post workshop webinars to enable a deeper dive on some aspects of the reform design to complement a full day workshop with local government and iwi/hapū/Māori attendees.

We hope by next week to be able to provide you with a save-the-date to enable you to attend an engagement session in the New Year.

Water Services Bill

The Water Services Bill had its first reading on Wednesday 9 December.

The Bill will now be referred to the Health Select Committee and we anticipate there will be a call for submissions shortly.

The Minister of Local Government’s media release can be read here.

Request for Information

Over the last week we have seen a number of partial submissions of draft workbooks from across a range of councils.

We would like to once again reflect on the substantial effort from the sector to undertake this important process to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of the system.

Looking forward

DIA officials will be supporting the Minister of Local Government to take a paper to Cabinet on the Three Waters Reform Programme ahead of Christmas.

This paper will seek Cabinet direction on the key milestones and timetable for reform, including a further significant round of sector and iwi/Māori engagement around March 2021.

Subject to Cabinet timing and decisions DIA will work to proactively release this paper as soon as practicable.

This week officials from SOLGM, LGNZ, DIA, MBIE and the Treasury came together for a ‘sprint week’ to progress key elements of the work programme for engagement with you in early-2021.

Over the next two months officials will focus on refining this work and testing it with the Steering Committee ahead of engagement with you in early 2021.

We will work to ensure you are provided information on key design options and proposals ahead of the engagement series to enable you to best engage in this series.

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