Information for Councils

On this page

Updates from the Steering Committee
Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability of new Water Services Entities
Council feedback submissions
National Transition Unit Overview
Commentary on Castalia Report
Stormwater Technical Working Group Report
Regulatory Pressures
Three Waters guidance for Councils – August and September 2021
Reform Support Package information
Cabinet decisions and reform proposals - June 2021 
National Evidence Base
Local Dashboard release


This page provides information to support councils, and communities, to understanding the reform proposals.

Updates from the Steering Committee

The reform programme is being progressed through a partnership-based approach with the local government sector, alongside iwi/Māori as the Crown’s Treaty Partner. A Joint Three Waters Steering Committee provides collaborative oversight of the reform programme that brings together central and local government expertise and experience.

Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability of new Water Services Entities

On 10 November 2021 Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced a working group with members from local government and iwi to recommend strengthened representation, governance and accountability arrangements for the new water services entities.

The Working Group held its first meeting on 26 November and will report back in 28 February 2022.

Read more about the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability

Council feedback submissions

This report has been jointly prepared by the Department of Internal Affairs, Local Government New Zealand, and Taituarā to summarise feedback from the local government sector on the Government’s three waters reform proposals that were released on 30 June 2021.

Individual council feedback submissions will be proactively released shortly on the Local Government Feedback on reform proposals page.

You may also be interested in finding out What has changed as a result of council feedback (out of the eight-week period)?

National Transition Unit Overview

As part of the Three Waters reform programme, the Government has established a National Transition Unit to implement and oversee the transition of water services delivery from 67 councils to four new water services entities by 1 July 2024.

Commentary on Castalia Report

In recent reports for councils, Castalia makes several broad-ranging and critical statements of the evidence base, focusing mostly on the Water Industry Commission for Scotland’s modelling and analysis.

The Department has been requested to provide commentary on the Castalia Reports, most notably that prepared for Whangārei District Council. The Department considers the Castalia report misrepresents the evidence base and analysis supporting the reform proposals, and reaches conclusions that are not well supported by the available empirical evidence from similar reforms undertaken in other jurisdictions.

Stormwater Technical Working Group Report

The Stormwater Technical Working Group (STWG) was established to identity future arrangements for the planning and management of stormwater services and how those services could be successfully delivered by the proposed water services entities, whilst protecting and enhancing the relationship between the proposed water services entities and local authorities.

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Regulatory pressures

There is a common misconception that the Government is asking councils to consider and compare their current three waters operations with a future under the service delivery reforms. This is incorrect. The status quo for water service providers is changing and council water providers and their communities will face very significant costs without reform.

Three Waters guidance for Councils – August and September 2021

The Department, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), and Taituarā have collaborated to produce this guidance for Councils. The purpose of this period is to understand the proposal and how it affects your Council and your community, and to identify issues of local concern and suggest possible ways to address those. It’s an opportunity for the sector to engage with the model and the proposal, at both the national level and as it relates to your community.

This information is also listed on the Three Waters guidance for Councils page.

Reform Support Package information

The Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government have announced a comprehensive three waters support package and discussed the forward partnership with Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) on the reform proposals.

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Cabinet decisions and reform proposals - June 2021 

In mid-2021 Cabinet took decisions on the key design features of the reform proposals including, size, boundaries, ownership, and protections of iwi/Māori rights and interests.

In October 2021, Cabinet took decisions to progress with the reforms to ensure all New Zealand communities can benefit from the reforms.

The Department’s Regulatory Impact Analysis provides a comprehensive analysis of alternate options for reform that were considered through the reform programme. 

National Evidence Base

This analysis and modelling advances the evidence base informing the case for change for the Three Waters Reform Programme.

Local Dashboard release

The local dashboard provides a series of indicator that users can interact with to see information relevant to their councils. The dashboards draw on information that was supplied by councils in February 2021 and as such may not reflect what is in councils’ final Long-Term Plans.

This information can also be found on the National Evidence Base page and Request for Information page.

Contact us

If you have any queries, please email: 3waterssteeringgroup@dia.govt.nz or ThreeWaters@dia.govt.nz

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