Taumata Arowai and Three Waters Reform

Latest water reform bills open for submissions

The Water Services Entities Act establishing the four new water service entities has been passed. Consultation is now underway on two new two new supporting bills recently introduced into Parliament. The Water Services Legislation Bill aims to establish and empower water services entities by setting out their functions, powers, obligations, and oversight arrangements.

The other new bill open for consultation is the Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill which provides for the regulation of the price and quality of water infrastructure services, and consumer protection for water infrastructure services.

The deadline for submissions is 12 February 2023 though local government has been given a further five days extension, until 17 February.

Read the supporting documents:

Water Services Legislation Bill - two cabinet papers - Introduction and Minutes and Pricing and Charging for Three Waters services and background summaries

Water Services Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill - legislative statement and Cabinet Papers and Regulatory Impact Statements.

Draft Transfer Principles - survey

The National Transition Unit is keen to hear the views of the sector on the transfer of assets and liabilities, in particular unanswered questions, or any assets, liabilities and other matters not covered by the principles. Comments on the Water Services Legislation Bill are best directed to the the select committee. However, they are also seeking feed back through a short survey. Deadline 31 March 2023

Taumata Arowai and Three Waters Reform

What are the objectives of reform

The Government’s reforms aim to significantly improve the safety, quality, resilience, accessibility, and performance of three waters services, in a way that is affordable for New Zealanders now and into the future. The purpose of the entities will be to provide safe, reliable and efficient water services.

Three Waters Reform - A quick overview

In June 2022 the government introduced the Water Services Entities Bill which paves the way for the formation of four new regionally-based water utilities.

View our Entities page to see a copy of the bill and fact sheets.

Taumata Arowai
In the biggest reform programme in decades, the Government has created a new stand-alone water services regulator. Taumata Arowai took over from the Ministry of Health as the new Drinking Water regulator on Monday 15 November.

Latest updates

Second Tranche of Drinking Water and Wastewater Network Environmental Performance Measures

Taumata Arowai is consulting on the next phase of drinking water measures as well as the first set of wastewater measures. The first phase of the drinking water environmental performance measures were introduced in July this year.

See the consultation document.

The new regulator says it has developed the next phase of drinking water measures based on feedback received earlier this year. as well as information from the Water New Zealand’s National Performance Review. It is expected that the new drinking water and wastewater measures will come into force on 1 July 2023.

The consultation period ended on Friday, 25 November.

Te Mana o te Wai

The Water Services Act 2021 requires Taumata Arowai to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai when exercising our powers, functions, and duties. Taumata Arowai will provide an opportunity for comment early next year and is inviting indications from anyone with an interest in being part of this work.

For further information email korero@taumataarowai.govt.nz

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Four new entities will be established to replace the 67 council-run three waters services.

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Economic Regulation and Consumer Protection

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is consulting on how economic regulation and consumer protection for the future Three Waters system should be designed. The Government is considering regulatory safeguards to ensure that consumers and communities receive efficient and affordable three waters services that meet their needs both now and into the future. 

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