Three Waters Reform

September 24, 2021

Dear residents and ratepayers,

Central Government is proposing to reform the delivery of Three Waters across New Zealand.

Three Waters includes drinking water, waste water and storm water. Here in Rangitīkei, these services are delivered by Manawatū District Council under a shared services agreement with Rangitīkei District Council. The services provided are funded through rates.

Central Government has given councils until the end of September to provide feedback on the proposed reform. Before we provide feedback, we would like to hear from our community about what you think.

The proposal is to move Three Water services from the 67 councils of New Zealand into four large publicly owned entities.

Councils will collectively remain the ‘owners’ of the entities on behalf of their communities, with mana whenua having a joint oversight role. Three waters assets and service delivery will remain in public ownership with protections proposed in legislation against privatisation. There will be no shareholding or dividends.

Rangitīkei is included in 'Entity B', which will be made up of 22 councils, including our neighbours Whanganui and Ruapehu and others in Waikato, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki. It is important to note that Manawatū will come under a different entity.

Regardless of who delivers the three waters service, we will have:

  • Access to clean and safe drinking water
  • A wastewater system that safely takes away and treats the water from your toilets, showers, sink etc.
  • A stormwater network that effectively manages surface water and improves its quality before discharging it into our waterways.

We want to hear from you

We have created a web page to explain what we know about the proposed reform.
Please visit https://www.rangitikei.govt.nz/services/water/three-waters-reform.

Please take part in the survey, use this QR code to take you to there, and tell us your thoughts and concerns about the reform. Please complete this by 5pm, 24 September 2021. Council will collate your thoughts into consideration as it prepares its feedback which is due on 30 September 2021.

How else can you have your say?

The Three Waters reform proposal is complex, and we understand that you may want to meet with your Councillors and I to discuss. On Friday, 17 September at 2.30pm we will hold a Facebook live session with myself and our Chief Executive Peter Beggs, in which you can ask any questions you wish.

Once we have reviewed all feedback, the Council will meet on 30 September to consider its position and respond to Central Government’s proposal. We will keep you updated on how the reform progresses via our website and Facebook page. We look forward to receiving your feedback.

Ngā manaakitanga

Andy Watson, Mayor of Rangitīkei


Three Waters Reform – quick background

In July 2020, Central Government launched the Three Waters Reform Programme – a three-year programme to reform local government three waters (drinking, waste and stormwater) service delivery arrangements.

The reform programme follows a Central Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water, which was set up following a campylobacter outbreak in 2016 where 5500 people became ill and four people are thought to have died from associated causes.

Central Government also established Taumata Arowai, which will become the country’s drinking water regulator, when the Water Services Bill is passed. This is expected later this year.

Central Government is proposing to establish four publicly-owned entities to take responsibility for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure across New Zealand. Currently 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Rangitīkei District is proposed to be part of ‘Entity B’, which takes in 22 local authorities (Thames-Coromandel, Hamilton, Hauraki, Matamata-Piako, Waikato, Waipa, Waitomo, South Waikato, Stratford, Taupō, Tauranga, Western Bay of Plenty, Ōpōtiki, Kawerau, Rotorua Lakes, New Plymouth, Ōtorohanga, Rangitīkei, Ruapehu, South Taranaki and Whanganui). Instead of your district council supplying your drinking water, storm water and wastewater services, they will be supplied by an entity that will work across the ‘Entity B’ geographical area.

More information can be found on the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) website: https://www.dia.govt.nz/Three-waters-review