LGNZ proposes delaying transition of stormwater into new Three Waters Entity

25 July 2022

LGNZ is calling for a phased transition to Three Waters reform in its select committee submission on the Water Services Entities (WSE) Bill.

“It’s abundantly clear that when it comes to the management and delivery of the country’s drinking, waste and storm water, one size does not fit all,” says President Stuart Crosby.

“The local government sector has been advocating for water reforms for decades. While each council will have their own view on the proposed model, everyone is united on the need for reform of some kind.

“LGNZ is committed to a pragmatic approach to the reforms, because we know if reforms don’t go through now, it’ll be back in the political too hard basket.

“We are recommending the Government look at a phased transition to the new system where it makes sense. This includes considering delaying transitioning stormwater to the new entities where it works for councils.

“The water reforms are complex and will have an intergenerational impact. LGNZ has invested significant amount of resource including legal and technical experts with planning expertise to contribute to the submission.

"The stormwater proposals are underdeveloped and the impacts uncertain. Stormwater is more complex than the other two waters because it’s intertwined with a lot of other council functions like flood and drainage management, roading, parks and greenspace.

“There’s merit in drinking and wastewater transiting first, with stormwater waiting till the WSEs are up and running and resource management reform is implemented.

“There are multiple reforms underway in the local government sector, posing workforce, capacity and other challenges. The success of the three waters reform could be put at risk if it isn’t implemented in a way that works for councils and local communities. 

“While there are a range of views in the sector about the model itself, our submission is focused on pragmatic solutions to the model in front of us.

“We have provided specific, practical recommendations so the legislation is workable for councils,” Stuart Crosby said.