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Mayors Propose Consensus Path Forward For Three Waters


The Mayors of Aotearoa New Zealand’s two biggest cities, Auckland and Christchurch, have put forward a joint proposal to make progress the divisive “three waters” issue and achieve consensus.

Auckland’s Wayne Brown and Christchurch’s Phil Mauger are seeking support for their proposal to be considered and further developed by both central and local government as an alternative to the current plan, which has failed to achieve political consensus either within or between Parliament and local authorities.

Helen Lash Westland District Mayor supports the proposal, “Ever since the government outlined the details of the proposed reform, we have been concerned that Westland’s position could be compromised significantly. As part of ‘Entity D’ we would be a single voice in a group of 22 other local authorities, including several with much larger populations than ours. My major concern is that Westland would not be well-serviced by a large entity. I agree that there are better ways to achieve positive results for water reform and I think this ‘Path Forwards’ is a very good viable start.”

The new proposal would maintain crucial aspects of central government’s existing plan, including the new water regulator, Taumata Arowai, while maintaining local ownership, control and accountability, and allowing for meaningful roles for mana whenua.

Regional Water Organisations (RWOs), which would be unable to be sold outside local authority ownership, would have access to investment capital through a new Water Infrastructure Fund (WIF), administered by central government’s own Crown Infrastructure Partners (CIPs), best known for its successful roll-out of ultra-fast broadband.

The degree of any formal co-governance over RWOs would be determined by each local community in consultation with mana whenua rather than by central government.

“Council has invested in three waters to the best of our ability for our communities given the funding restrictions of a small rate-payer base. More needs to be invested so that we can provide the best water services and we need to find ways to do this without penalising our small communities. Any decisions made by the government need to be long-term and not at risk of political play-offs after an election. The principles proposed in the Consensus Plan to Improve Water Management in New Zealand are sensible and will enable the community to fund the infrastructure and allow us to work together with local iwi to the benefit of all.”


Media enquiries to:

Emma Rae, Strategy and Communications Advisor