Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has confirmed that the Government will push on to create four publicly-owned water entities and that the three waters reforms will be mandatory for all councils. This will see the management of majority of New Zealand's stormwater, drinking water and wastewater assets moved out of the hands of councils to four large water entities, to be operational by 1 July 2024.
The press release states that for decades, councils have had to make difficult trade-offs between investing in these critical services or other services central to the well-being of their communities. The new entities will have the sole focus of providing drinking, waste and stormwater infrastructure to the communities they serve.
Work is underway to establish a working group of local government, iwi and water industry experts to work through elements of entity design. The group will work through the enhancements to entity design and look at the governance and accountability arrangements of the entities, as well as provide an opportunity for public participation and consultation.
We can expect the introduction of legislation to progress the establishment of the entities before the end of 2021. The Select Committee process will provide an opportunity to provide public feedback on the reforms.
We will be publishing the next instalment of our Three Waters report, which will provide a more detailed update on the reforms, in the coming weeks.
Please get in touch with one of our experts if you would like to discuss the reform in more detail.
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