Association Updates

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Progress with Certification for Operations Staff

There has been some progress in the development of our proposal for a certification scheme for operations staff. We have begun working with the Ministry of Health and others to do the following:

  • 1.Analyse the industry feedback you’ve provided, to understand the issues, identify themes and develop recommendations. We expect this work to be mostly complete in early October 2017.
  • 2.Establish a process of further industry consultation based on the aforementioned analysis and recommendations beginning in mid-October 2017.
  • 3.Secure funding for the development of a certification regime - potentially beginning in 2018.

To ensure that the process outlined prioritises the expectations of industry stakeholders the Board of Water New Zealand has:

  • 1.Established a Steering Group (chaired by Kelvin Hill) to provide guidance and feedback – this is in the process of being established
  • 2.The CEO has engaged an independent Project Manager (Rob McCrone) who will guide the process of implementing a certification regime.
  • 3.With the support of the Ministry of Health we have engaged Allen+Clarke (consultants) to undertake the analysis of your industry submissions – in consultation with the Steering Group

New Staff Appointment

Chief Executive John Pfahlert is pleased to announce the appointment of a new full time staff member. Jim Graham has been appointed as Principal Advisor - Water Quality, and will start with the Association based in our Wellington office on 16 October. Jim will be working to provide advisory services to Councils across a range of drinking water related matters. His appointment reflects the significant workload expected to arise out of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry.

Customer Survey Report

The Association will be launching the results of the customer satisfaction survey we conducted in May at the Annual conference next week. A PDF copy of the survey will be distributed to all members in the week following conference. It will also be made available on our website as an interactive tool, allowing the membership and general public to analyse the data.

Nomination for Honorary Life Membership

The Board of Water New Zealand is pleased to advise that they will be recommending to the AGM at Conference next week that Graeme Mills of Tauranga City Council be awarded life membership of the Association in recognition of his services to the Backflow special interest group.

Metadata Standards

The Standards have now been released. This is an update on the Standards for the three waters network. The standards can be downloaded here:

To request/suggest changes to the standards please contact:

I have circulated to industry the following:

  • 1)The ‘workshop spread sheet’ – this contains a summary of all feedback received and how it has been actioned (though agreement at the technical workshops)
  • 2)The executive summary of the business case.

The involvement of LINZ and MBIE in this initiative is now at an end. Water NZ will be the contact point for any changes people wish to request to the water standards. Note however that the Government has decided not to provide any specific funding to implement these standards. Any implementation Water New Zealand undertakes will now need to be fitted in around other work commitments.

We are in dialogue with the Transport Agency to explore options to implement the water standards in conjunction with the roading standards. It is still our desire to run pilot trials with these standards with selected councils. I will keep you posted as developments occur.

Some more details for those who are interested:

The CEO met with Dave Hipkins from LINZ and others involved with this project on 31 August. The data standards went “live” on 1 September. The ownership with be retained by the NZ Government, though that is somewhat meaningless – since no Government Department wants to “own” them.

LINZ now no longer has any involvement in the project, and Chris Kane from MBIE who was involved has resigned. An “exit” report was produced by LINZ and MBIE to Treasury, and David Taylor is in receipt of that. It appears however that the National Infrastructure Unit has no interested in their implementation. Nor is the monitoring unit within Treasury.

Minister Joyce was briefed by Treasury. He refused to allow officials to prepare a budget bid to enable more funding to be allocated for implementation.

The data standards are now hosted by Metaconnect for 2 years and they have been paid to ensure maintenance and version control. 30 hours a month has been allocated. At this stage there is no plan beyond the 2 year horizon, but I suspect the Transport Agency will ensure they provide money going forward to allow updates.

So, after all this work we have no money to assist with water specific implementation of the Standards. Water NZ is the contact point for suggested changes and improvements to the document. The CEO will be working with the Transport Agency to get Council implementation done.

After the election we propose to follow up with whoever is the Government to highlight the efficiency gains to be had from their implementation in a consistent manner across government.

Report from ELF

John Pfahlert attended a meeting of the Engineering Leadership Forum (IPENZ, IPWEA, Concrete NZ, Civil Contractors NZ and Electricity Engineers Association) where the principal issue of discussion was concern at the process of joint Standards development between Australia and New Zealand. Of particular concern are the significant costs being requested by Standards New Zealand to be involved in the review of existing joint standards.

NZ Utilities Advisory Group

The 2018 NZUAG Code Review will be officially launched at the RIMS conference in March 2018. The 2018 review process will follow a similar approach to that used in the last review. An initial submission round will focus on identifying areas where amendments to the Code may be required. Following analysis and consideration of these by the Review Committee, an initial revised draft of the Code will be produced. This will then become the base document for the second consultation round, which will be undertaken in conjunction with a national seminar series based around proposed Code changes and significant issues raised. Following Review Team analysis of second round submissions, a final revised draft will be prepared for consideration by the full NZUAG Board. Once signed off by the Board the new draft Code will go through a process of legal review, before eventually being submitted to the Minister of Infrastructure for final approval and sign off. A five member Code Review Committee, consisting of two Corridor Manager and two Utility Operator representatives, along with the Independent Board Chair is in the process of being set up to carry out the review. If you are interested in being a part of such a committee, please contact the administrator Colin Lewis on

Tony Hale from Waipa District Council is the interim WSMG representative on the NZUAG.

Deep South Science Challenge

This is one of eleven national science challenges. The Deep South science has multiple sub projects from recalibrating the earth system model with a higher resolution section for New Zealand and Antarctic area through to climate change impacts and opportunities for iwi; Impacts and Implications for infrastructure and Engagement of decision makers and end users of what the currently know and what the y need to know.

It is envisaged that over the next year Water New Zealand will be co-ordinating presentations and discussions between members and the Deep South project.

Wet Wipes

On behalf of the New Zealand waste water sector Water New Zealand has signed the MoU for voting rights with the International Water Services Flushability Group. (IWSFG)

The objective of the IWSFG is to develop and maintain clear standards that define suitable criteria for products that can be flushed down toilets and drains, and labelled flushable, to protect water collection and transfer systems, treatment plants, their workers, and the environment.

This objective is supported by Publicly Available Standards (PAS) documents setting out the test protocols and other information supporting and referenced in the standard.

Pipeline Workshops

In conjunction with the IPWEA and Quake Centre the Association ran two very successful industry workshops in Hamilton and Palmerston North last month to update members on recent developments around pipeline resilience issues. They were well attended with 36 and 30 attendees respectively. The workshops will also be run in Queenstown on 6 November and Christchurch on 7 November. Registration to these events is via and