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News

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Three mayors on three waters: running hot or cold?

Mayors up and down the country remain divided over a proposed centralised water reform programme, with some concerned about being losers in the divvy up of assets, and others focused on the loss of local powers.

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Flood protection won't work in climate-changed environment

A climate change researcher says local and central government must stop allowing houses to be built in at-risk areas and we should no longer rely on flood protection infrastructure such as stopbanks to protect against climate change-induced major weather events.

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Natural state? Water purity measure corrected

The equation for measuring water purity has been corrected but a freshwater ecologist questions whether this adjustment is sufficient to prevent pollution. The official equation measuring the human impact on groundwater has been revised to better reflect levels of pollution.

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Government offers $2.5b sweetener to councils as it looks to take control of water infrastructure

The Government is putting a $2.5b sweetener on the table for councils as it moves to reform three waters infrastructure.

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Mike Joy wins battle over ‘dodgy’ water stats

Prominent freshwater ecologist wrings admissions from agencies about poor use of water statistics. Read the Newsroom story.

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Waikato's worrying nitrate levels

Nitrate levels in Waikato's groundwater are causing concerns among scientists asked to look at the levels in the region.

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Wellington Mayor at odds with his own taskforce on three waters

Wellington's mayor is yet to take a stance on the Government's three waters reform plan, prompting criticism from his colleagues that he is at odds with his own taskforce on the matter.

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Council's battle to remove chlorine 'like a game of tennis' with safety assessors

Hopes of a chlorine-free Christmas for some Christchurch residents may be dashed as health authorities have refused to sign off a plan detailing the safety of the city's water supply.

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Alarm over level of nanoplastic in marine environment

Alarming new microplastics research has sparked calls for better filters in household washing machines and water treatment plants.

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Disappointment over failure to phase out plastic wipes

“We wish the Government had heeded the strong public calls to phase out wet wipes containing plastic,” says Green Party spokesperson for waste, Eugenie Sage.

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Environmental groups team up to call for stricter water nitrate limit

Four major Kiwi environmental organisations have teamed up to push for the Government to set a strict nitrate pollution limit of less than 1 milligram per litre in New Zealand’s waterways.

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Fifty mayors speak out on water reforms

From the Far North to Invercargill, the country's leaders give their verdicts on what the $120b-plus water reforms mean for ratepayers.

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Water NZ CEO Gillian Blythe and Green MP Eugenie Sage talk 3 waters reform

Gillian Blythe and Eugenie Sage discuss the release of the Government's preferred models and information released to councils this week on 95BFM.


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Vital conversation needed on three waters future

Today’s release of the Government‘s three waters reform proposals provide central government, local government and their communities with the information needed for a vital conversation on the future of three waters (drinking, waste and stormwater).

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Get tough approach on plastics welcomed

Water New Zealand says it welcomes the Government’s tougher approach to plastics in the environment.

"It’s been estimated that pipe blockages caused by flushing wet wipes cost New Zealand ratepayers at least $16-million a year in unblocking pipes," says Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe.

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Safer drinking water key issue for New Zealanders

Water New Zealand says events such as the Havelock North contamination crisis and the frequent number of boil water notices in some parts of the country have led to drinking water becoming identified as our number one infrastructure issue.

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Used condoms, tampons being flushed onto Wellington beaches

Message to consumers - don't buy single-use plastics, but if you do, don't use the toilet to dispose of them.

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Concerns Wellington city construction projects will stall as workforce shortage hits 138%

Around the Wellington region over the next decade, councils are looking to invest several billion dollars in Three Waters alone, to upgrade its ageing and increasingly failing pipes. But now doubt is being thrown over the deliverability of big construction projects in the capital, where there is roughly a 140 percent shortfall in the number of construction workers.

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Three Waters reform the 'only solution' after Bay of Plenty leaders request hui

Sweeping changes poised to overhaul local government and water infrastructure in New Zealand have been deemed the "only solution" by a Bay of Plenty mayor, while another North Island leader describes it as "the end of local democracy as we know it".

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Nutrients in rivers - how much is too much?

New Zealand freshwater scientists have answered the question of how much nutrients should be permitted in our rivers to maintain ecosystem health.

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Shortage of workers risks infrastructure delivery

The Herald's senior Wellington journalist Georgina Campbell looks at how water service delivery is looking to be one of the next big challenges facing the water sector, due to a shortage of people working in the industry.

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Consultation (106513 & 106514) – New Joint Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand projects

The following joint standards development projects were recently approved by Standards Australia and may be of interest to your organisation.

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Decision on councils’ right to opt out of $120b water reforms

First councils were told they could 'opt in' to the merger of their three waters infrastructure, then that they would have to 'opt out'. Now the decision may be taken from their hands.

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Taumata Arowai Māori Advisory Group announced

The inaugural members of the Taumata Arowai Māori Advisory Group have been appointed by Minister Davis as Acting Minister of Local Government.

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$185b over 30 years: Report reveals overhaul needed for country's water network

A new report has found creating one to four providers is the most efficient way to overhaul management of New Zealand's three waters network.

The affordability challenge of tackling decades of underinvestment is eye-watering.

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Need for more water investment made clear

Water New Zealand says new evidence just released shows the extent of the challenges facing the three waters sector.

The Department of Internal Affairs has just released a series of reports which look at the need for reform and addresses some of the key issues raised during consultations with the sector.

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Auckland water rates rise a necessary pill - WaterCare

WaterCare says it has some sympathy for the Aucklanders whose water costs will double in the next ten years, but says - unfortunately - it's a necessary pill to swallow.

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It's official - Timaru has NZ's best tasting water

Congratulations to Timaru for taking out the title of NZ's best tasting tap water for the second year running. The award was presented at the WIOG Conference in Napier yesterday.

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Controversial North Taranaki composting company declined permission to continue operating

The future of a controversial organic composting site in North Taranaki is in doubt after the consents it needs to continue operating were not renewed.

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Flood protection infrastructure helps create resilience and economic stability

The launch of a $16 million restoration works programme last week at Taniwha Marae in the Waikato was "collaboration at its finest".

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Billion-dollar Sleepyhead development gets the go-ahead

A major industrial and residential development in Waikato has been given the green light despite concerns about flooding and wastewater issues.


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Big drop in water usage following meters

There's been a big drop in the amount of water used by residents in Renwick following the installation of new meters in the township.

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Reform proposals include stormwater

Local Government Minister, Nanaia Mahuta told delegates attending the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference in Tauranga that "it's important that the proposed water service entities have responsibility for all three waters - drinking, waste and stormwater.

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$296m for creation of new water entities

Budget 2021 has allocated $296 million to fund the costs of the creation of new entities to "effectively, equitably and efficiently manage water infrastructure and provide New Zealanders with safe supply wherever they live."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the government is committed to water remaining in public ownership, with local authorities, communities, iwi and others playing a central role.

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Huge scale of water infrastructure challenge

We need to be upfront about the scale of the challenge - that's the message from Dunedin City Councillor, Dr Jim O'Malley and newly appointed Chair of the Wellington Water Committee, Hutt Cty Mayor, Campbell Barry.

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Water reforms not about ownership

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says the Three Waters reforms are not about ownership.

In response to opposition claims that the reforms will give Ngāi Tahu a share in Te Waipounamu water assets, the Minister says the reforms are not the way to resolve questions around the rights and interests of Māori.


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Stormwater conference - engaging with iwi

Environmental Planner, Tina Porou says there's a real willingness in the stormwater sector to understand how Te Mana o te Wai will influence the management of stormwater.

She was one of the keynote speakers at the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference.

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Conference focuses on key stormwater challenges

The government’s ambitious water reforms and embedding the concept of Te Mana o te Wai into legislation will be key areas under the spotlight at the Water New Zealand Stormwater Conference in Tauranga starting today.

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Stormwater – the poor cousin of the water sector

Investment in stormwater infrastructure is lagging well behind drinking and wastewater investment despite the challenges posed by climate change and the need for the development of water sensitive towns and cities.

The Water New Zealand Stormwater conference gets underway in Tauranga this week (12-14 May) and the focus will be on tackling these issues as well as the government’s three waters reforms.

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Taumata Arowai – a small smart regulator with a big job

By Bill Bayfield, Taumata Arowai Establishment CEO

Water services regulator Taumata Arowai is about ensuring safe drinking water and improved Three Waters performance for all in Aotearoa.

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High flyer to lead Watercare

Watercare has recently appointed Jon Lamonte as its new CEO. He’s so new, in fact, that when Mary Searle Bell spoke to him, he was still isolating in quarantine, having just arrived from Australia.

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Expressions of Interest for the Canterbury Young Water Professionals Committee

The Water New Zealand Canterbury Young Professionals Committee is looking for up to two passionate young professionals to join the committee.

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Plumbing products a public health issue

New Zealand must move urgently to lead-free plumbing products, writes Master Plumbers, Gasfitters & Drainlayers
chief executive, Greg Wallace.

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Our water problem in 15 worrying charts

Newsroom's business editor Nikki Mandow looks at the serious state of New Zealand 's water infrastructure. Her in-depth analysis uses data from Water New Zealand's recently-released National Performance Review.

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Taniwha in the valley: Hutt River is both threatened and threatening - but is it just misunderstood?

Settlement and paving along New Zealand's Hutt River are affecting the health of the river's waters at various points. Now the once pristine river is a victim of "urban stream syndrome," in which flood control measures tend to cause more variable water flow while also concentrating human-generated contaminants that are poisonous to river ecology.

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Auckland council and Watercare commit to ambitious targets

Auckland Council and Watercare have jointly committed to adopting ambitious targets designed to reduce Aucklanders’ use of drinking water by 20 per cent over the next 30 years to create a city more resilient to impacts of drought and climate change.

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Consultation hui on water quality

A series of hui is underway to ensure that grass roots community Maori representatives are consulted over how the RMA changes will impact on water issues, particularly water quality.


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Restoring our fragile freshwater systems

Opinion: Waimakariri Water Zone Committee chair Michael Blackwell says we've taken too much from our environment and we must start giving back.

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Lead contamination report shows need for regulatory improvements

Water New Zealand says it supports the key recommendations in the report into the public health response to lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply.

Chief executive Gillian Blythe says the report’s findings show the need for regulatory improvement in drinking water supply which is already underway with the establishment of the new regulator, Taumata Arowai.