Three Waters Steering Committee Update, 18 February 2021

Return to: Three 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 strongly urge that you share this important information, invites to workshops, and webinars to ALL 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.

Please RSVP to the March engagements

Last week we sent you the formal invitation to the March workshops (attached again).

If you have not done so already, we ask that you and your colleagues please RSVP for planning and COVID contingency purposes.

The attached invitation provides detail on what the workshop and next week’s webinars (see below) will cover and where to find useful preparatory information and materials.

Pre-workshop webinars held next week

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

For those that have not been following the reform programme to date, or would like a refresher, we will hold a webinar to provide a high-level refresh/overview of the reform programme. 

We will also hold a background webinar on the reform programme and where we are seeing Treaty Rights and Interests throughout the reform to enable iwi/hapū attendees to come prepared to engage on these matters on at the workshop.

The details for these webinars are as follows:

Please encourage elected members and appropriate council staff to consider attending these webinars.

Preparing for the workshops

For those of you who are already across the Reform Programme we still recommend you review the information provided in December 2020 update on the Three Waters Reform Programme webpage ahead of the workshops.

This covers the December Cabinet paper that reconfirms the direction of the reform programme and Stage One data analysis (produced using publicly accessible information).

We will also identify additional information on the workshops as it becomes available and provide this on the Three Waters Reform Programme webpage.

Request for Information refinements

Over the last three weeks we have been working with councils on their RFI workbooks that were submitted on 1 February 2021.

These refinements have provided councils with some immediate feedback on outstanding matters or unintended errors in the RFI workbooks to ensure council submissions are as robust as possible.

Once again, the Steering Committee would like to reflect on council staff’s professionalism and engagement in working together with the RFI support team to ensure the dataset we produce is accurate.

We expect to have all final refined RFIs by the end of the week. Once received we can begin our aggregated analysis to provide central and local government insights into the reform options and implications.

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.

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

Over the following months Councils will be supported in engaging with communities on the reforms with a package of information, including on decisions on whether to remain in the reform programme or to opt out.

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