What the heck IS this Three Waters anyway?

What the heck IS this 3-waters thing?

From the horse’s mouth: (we’ve added the headings)

” In July 2020, the Government launched the Three Waters Reform Programme – a three-year programme to reform local government three waters service delivery arrangements.
This reform programme builds on the progress made through the Three Waters Review and establishment of Taumata Arowai.

Who owns the current system?
Currently 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services across New Zealand. Local government is facing urgent challenges in the provision of these services including: funding infrastructure deficits, complying with safety standards and environmental expectations, building resilience to natural hazards and climate change into three waters networks, and supporting growth.

We need reforms for lasting benefits
Rather than piecemeal solutions, comprehensive, system-wide reform is needed to achieve lasting benefits for the local government sector, our communities, and the environment.

We plan to split you into areas or ‘entities’
The Government’s starting intention is to reform local government’s three waters services into a small number of multi-regional entities with a bottom line of public ownership. The exact size, shape and design of these entities is still being worked through.”

Maori will be gifted 50% and have 50% voting rights
The reform programme is being progressed through a voluntary, 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.
Building on the Crown’s engagement with iwi/Māori through the Three Waters review, the Department is committed to working in partnership with our Treaty Partners as we progress the reforms. Our work requires ongoing engagement with iwi/Māori to understand Treaty rights of interests over the course of the reform period. For enquiries, please email threewaters@dia.govt.nz.

True consultation or just “Engagement”?
In addition to working with the Steering Committee, there will be an ongoing programme of engagement with local government, iwi/Māori, the wider water services sector, and communities of interest throughout the reform programme.
Building on the engagement undertaken in 2020, the Department and the Joint Steering Committee will continue ongoing engagement with local government, iwi/Māori and industry professionals throughout 2021. ”

Source: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Three-Waters-Reform-Programme

See the Archived Documents section for more materials produced as part of this ‘engagement’.

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