E toru ngā whakahoutanga o te wai

Three Waters reforms


  • Central Government has announced there will not be an option for councils to ‘opt out’ of the reforms.
  • The Government is beginning the legal process to draft new laws for approval by parliament.
  • Work is underway to establish a working group of local government, iwi and water industry experts to work through how the entities will look and operate.
  • This will include looking at governance and accountability, as well as provide an opportunity for public participation and consultation. 
  • Cabinet has also tasked the Department of Internal Affairs with creating a unit to focus on successfully implementing these reforms. This unit will work with the local government sector, iwi, water industry and other stakeholders to transition to the new model.



  • Central Government’s current proposal would see responsibility for the delivery of New Zealand’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services shift from 67 councils to four publicly-owned Water Service Entities (WSEs). 
  • Under the proposal, councils will be written into law as owners of the assets but will not be financial shareholders. All financial aspects will be managed by a Governance board.
  • We are likely to become part of a Water Service Entity serving 800,000 people spanning Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki, plus Whanganui, Ruapehu and Rangitikei.
  • According to Department of Internal Affairs analysis, the average household three waters cost in our WSE is estimated at $4300 without reform but $1220 with the reforms.
  • NPDC will get $31.5 million from a $2.8 billion fund the Government has established to help make the changes.
  • In September our Mayor and Councillors publically debated the issue and expressed their concerns.
  • We have written to the Minister with feedback and suggestions to improve the reforms, including alternative models. You can read all the details here.


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