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Three Waters Reform

Three waters map

In July 2020, the Government launched the Three Waters Reform programme – a three-year programme to reform local government service delivery arrangements for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.

The Government is proposing to:

  • establish four publicly-owned water service entities, that own and operate three waters infrastructure on behalf of councils,
  • establish independent, competency-based boards to govern the water service entities,
  • promote council interests and iwi/Māori rights and interests through joint strategic influence and oversight arrangements,
  • set a national policy direction for the three waters sector, including integration with any new spatial/resource management planning,
  • establish an economic regulation regime,
  • develop an industry transformation strategy.

Currently 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services across New Zealand.

Under the proposed new structure, the Hauraki District would be part of Entity B with 22 councils in total, including Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and parts of Manawatu-Whanganui (see map of New Zealand).

Council Feedback

Our Council isn’t required at this point in the process to make a decision on opting in or out of the reforms.

During an eight week feedback period (1 August - 30 September 2021) Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs, Local Government New Zealand and Taituarā sought Council feedback on the:

  • potential impacts of the proposed Three Waters Reform on the Hauraki District Council and our residents and ratepayers,
  • outstanding issues highlighted in the three waters guidance for councils, and
  • water service entity boundaries as they relate to our district.

Our Councillors have conducted an initial review of the government proposals, highlighted areas where further information is required, and raised a number of concerns and questions.

You can read more information about the Three Waters Reform proposals in the Council workshop agenda [PDF, 3.4 MB] PDF document, which the Councillors considered at a workshop held on 15 September 2021.

The Council’s feedback to Te Tari Taiwhenua Internal Affairs and Local Government New Zealand can be read here - HDC feedback on impacts and issues of Three Waters Reform [PDF, 198 KB] PDF document.

As a result of the questions and issues raised in Council’s initial analysis, we’ve requested more information to understand in detail the potential impact of the complex reform in our District.

Next steps

The Government has announced its plan to move forward with the proposed Three Waters Reform.

The Governments next steps (Oct 2021 – Dec 2021):

  • Cabinet decisions on reform pathway
  • National Transition Unit Board Chairs and members appointed
  • MBIE Economic Regulation and consumer protections public consultation begins
  • Technical working groups to refine reform details begins
  • Water Service Entities Bill and Select committee process – public submissions and hearings – until June 2022

Three Waters Reform announcement and FAQs

The full programme timeline can be found here – Three Waters Reform Timeline PDF document.

Useful links if you want to know more

Learn more about the Three Waters Review 

View the full reports released in June 2021

Learn more about the new water services regulator Taumata Arowai

Read our Questions and Answers

Read our Mayor’s media statements

Contact us 

Request for Information (RfI)

As part of our commitment to openly share information and analysis of our system to deliver the three water services in our district and the quality of our assets, we have the following documentation available.

This information collected is to support advice on the options for reform to the Steering Committee, local government elected members and Ministers over the coming months.   The information gathered will be an important part of the Reform Programme.