The government has made a number of recent announcements regarding its proposal for three waters reform.

The government is proposing to create four large publicly-owned water entities to take on the role of public water providers in New Zealand. A $2.5 billion package has also been announced for councils who participate in the reform programme – $500 million will be spent on supporting councils through the transition process and to ensure the reform’s financial impacts will be managed, and $2 billion will be awarded to councils to invest in the future for local government, urban development, and their communities’ wellbeing.

Details of how the package will be divided across councils or how exactly growth-related infrastructure would be funded is not yet clear. It is too early to speculate on how successful the reform programme will be given the response from several councils continues to be lukewarm. The possibility of the reform being mandated by the government is a possibility.

Infrastructure New Zealand, in conjunction with co-hosts Chapman Tripp, held a lively question and answer session with Hon Nanaia Mahuta last Thursday (22 July). The event was well-attended, and the Minister used the opportunity to reflect on the progress and implications of the Three Waters Reform Programme.