Three Waters

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Ownership and governance

Water infrastructure will continue to be owned by local communities through each council’s shareholding in their respective Water Services Entity.

Public ownership of water services assets is a bottom line. 

The four new Water Services Entities will be proportionately owned by their region’s respective councils on behalf of their local communities. The legislation includes extensive safeguards against privatisation. All council owners would need to unanimously agree to any proposal to privatise water services. Even in that unlikely event, it would then require a 75 per cent majority in a public referendum. These protections have been put in place to protect water assets from being privatised.

 

Regional Representative Groups

Regional Representative Groups will be set up to provide regional and local level direction and oversight. They will set the strategic and performance expectations, appoint the board, approve the strategic direction, and monitor the performance of the Water Services Entities in their area.

Mana whenua will have equal representation on the Regional Representative groups alongside councils in each entity area.  

Regional Advisory Panels are also expected to be established to provide advice on matters such as investment priorities and expectations regarding service standards in their local areas.

 

Water Services Entity Boards

Water Services Entity boards will be appointed by the Regional Representative Groups. These will be merit-based appointments based on a defined and diverse skill set. There is no requirement for co-governance at the board level.

 

Local voice and accountability

Each entity will be required to engage with communities in a meaningful and effective manner on all key accountability documents like Asset Management Plans and Funding and Pricing Plans.

Water Services Entities will be required to consult with their customers, businesses, and residents on their strategic direction, investment priorities, their prices and charges and work closely with local authorities to ensure water infrastructure provides for growth and development in spatial plans.

The entities will have to report on how consumer and community feedback was incorporated into their decision-making.

This responsiveness and accountability to communities exceed the current requirements in the Local Government Act.

 

Proposed structure for the governance of the Water Services Entities.