The Government’s plan to rationalise and equitably deliver drinking water, stormwater and water services nationwide is pushing forward, despite stubborn turf protection by some local councils, including ours here in Hawke’s Bay.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) reiterated guidance given to local councils in December that legislation effecting the reforms would indeed be introduced in mid-2022. Negotiations with local government reps have led to some simplification and strengthening of local representation in governance of the new structure.
And this week the Three Waters National Transition Unit Board was appointed to oversee implementation of the anticipated new structure and services.
“From 1 July 2024, four new water services entities will deliver drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services to people across New Zealand. In preparation, the National Transition Unit will create four local establishment entities, to support and drive the transition in their areas.
“The Board will … ensure the Unit is able to deliver the new system in a consistent and coordinated manner across the country, including through the establishment of the new entities and the efficient transfer of assets to them.”
Members of the Board are:
Sir Brian Roche (chair) has direct experience over many years in the establishment and operation of organisations. He currently chairs Waka Kotahi NZTA and the COVID-19 Independent Continuous Review, Improvement and Advice Group.
John Duncan is a Deputy Chair of Kāinga Ora and the Public Trust, and an advisor to Auckland City Council on funding, risk management, and balance sheet and capital issues.
Fiona Mules is currently an independent director of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Lyttelton Port Company and Rural Livestock.
Rukumoana Schaafhausen (Ngati Haua) is a lawyer currently serving across a number of Iwi, community, private and public organisations in governance roles including Contact Energy, AgResearch, Miro Berries, Te Waharoa Investments, Tindall Foundation and The Princes Trust.
Richard Wagstaff is the President of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU).
Peter Winder is a former Chief Executive of Auckland Regional Council and Local Government New Zealand.
The gross failure of Hawke’s Bay’s water systems to meet modern standards lies directly on the doorstep of our local councils. Their current handwringing and apologies for past neglect notwithstanding, the problems have become too big to be entrusted to them.