Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Three Waters working group recommends councils become shareholders

Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, has today welcomed the independent Working Group report on the Three Waters Reform Programme, which has recommended that local councils become proportionate shareholders of the government’s proposed public water entities.

The recommendation was among 47 proposed by the independent working group, chaired by Doug Martin, which has spent the last two months considering reforms of the nation’s drinking, waste and storm waters.

“The independent Working Group has been an important part of the Government’s Three Waters Reform Programme to ensure all communities have access to affordable, safe and sustainable drinking, waste and storm water services,” Ms Mahuta said.

The group was established last year to examine the proposed representation, governance and accountability arrangements. Comprised of local government and iwi representatives, the group was also asked to further consider council and mana whenua feedback and make recommendations for additional improvements.  

“I want to acknowledge Doug Martin as the independent chair, and the local government and iwi members of the Working Group for their thorough work over the past eight weeks and for bringing their community knowledge and perspectives to this report,” the Minister said.

The working group recommended that councils become shareholders of the government’s proposed four water entities – with one share being allocated to each council for every 50,000 of residents.

She said Cabinet would carefully consider all of the recommendations in the report before finalising reform plans and introducing legislation.

“We know it is important to get this reform right for every New Zealander.”

“We are committed to ensuring local councils continue to have a vital three waters role by representing the interests of their communities at the highest level of each new water services entity alongside mana whenua, and by owning these entities on behalf of their communities.

“The process going forward is designed to make sure the wealth of three waters expertise and local knowledge built up by local government transfers over to the new entities and that these new water services providers are accountable and responsive to local communities.

“I look forward to providing an update on next steps once I have had the opportunity to consider the recommendations in this report with my Cabinet colleagues,” Ms Mahuta said.

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