Need for better alignment in water reform legislation

2 March 2023

Water New Zealand says there is a need for better alignment between the current water reform legislation and long term planning for water infrastructure services resilience.

Chief executive Gillian Blythe says the recent storm and flooding events indicate the urgent need for a consistent national approach to stormwater hazard modelling, smarter land use and design standards.

She told the Finance and Expenditure Committee that Water New Zealand welcomes the intent of the Water Services Legislation and Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bills which will provide incentives to invest wisely and upgrade critical water infrastructure.

However, she says there is a need for a more cohesive and coordinated approach with the Natural and Built Environments and Spatial Planning Bills.

“There is a risk that without this cohesion, the silo approach that has led to inadequate planning decisions, such as permitting building in hazard-prone areas, could continue.

“We also need to ensure that New Zealanders have the information needed to make knowledgeable decisions about investment and acceptable risk.”

She says that strong partnerships with tangata whenua are critical to ensure Te Mana o te Wai (health of the water) is embedded in integrated catchment management planning.

See our submission on  the Water Services Economic Efficiency and Consumer Protection Bill and the submission on the Water Services Legislation Bill. 

Media Release