Tareka ā-utu o te whakahoutanga wai
Water services

For many years, local government has been calling for water services reform to help address historic underinvestment and mounting future costs.

The previous Labour Government’s reform proposed shifting water services delivery and assets to new multi-regional entities that would have greater borrowing capacity than councils.

However, this model has received its share of criticism and looks set to be repealed.

While councils have a range of views on the best model, there is near universal agreement that the status quo can’t remain. Broad system failure has created longstanding issues that will worsen as climate change and extreme weather events put aging infrastructure under more pressure. Every year, 35,000 people in New Zealand get sick from drinking water that does not meet international standards.

Wherever the model for reform ends up, it must connect councils with communities. LGNZ will continue to work hard to ensure that councils and communities have meaningful input into this process.

Our work to date

The timeline below summarises activity to date.

February 2023

The Water Services Legislation Bill and the Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill were considered by the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee (and later that year passed into law). We provided a submission, highlighting our concerns with both Bills and how they needed to be improved.

Read our submission: Water services legislation bill and water services economic efficiency and consumer protection bill

June 2022

The Water Services Entities Bill was introduced to Parliament. We submitted on the Bill outlining our concerns.

Read our submission: Water Services Entities Bill

March 2022

The independent Governance, Representation and Accountability Working Group Report was issued. It made 47 recommendations on the original proposal, nearly all of which were accepted by the then Minister.

Read the final report: Recommendations from the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability of New Water Services Entities