Buller District Council

Council’s approach to Three Waters Reform

16th August, 2021

The Government is proposing changes to the way our drinking-water, stormwater, and wastewater services are delivered through a Three Waters Reform.

The Government has given councils until the end of September to provide feedback on the proposed reform.

Currently most three waters assets and services in New Zealand are owned and delivered by local councils and are paid for by rates.

The Government is proposing that three water services move from the 67 councils, who currently manage these, into four large entities.

The proposed reform would see Buller District become part of an entity that covers most of the South Island with a governance arrangement.

A regional representative group of 12 (made up of six local authority and six mana whenua appointees) would appoint an independent selection panel that in turn appoints board members for each entity.

Buller District Mayor Jamie Cleine says councillors are considering to what extent the proposed reforms will benefit the community now and for the future.

“We have been receiving all of the three waters information as it has become available from the government. We have participated in various workshops and meetings in order to better understand what is being proposed and what it may mean for us in Buller.

There are a lot of things to consider when making this decision which is why we have joined other West Coast Councils in seeking independent advice from Tonkin and Taylor on what the reforms will mean for each council. Tonkin and Taylor have good knowledge of our assets from work done over the years.”

Quality drinking water with responsible environment outcomes continues to be a priority for council.

“We need to work through the risks and opportunities the reforms offer our communities and satisfy ourselves the proposal is the best way to achieve this.”

Council is not being asked to opt-in or out of the reforms at this time. It is being asked to provide feedback into the design of the proposal.

Mayor Cleine has asked staff to present a report to full council at its meeting on Wednesday 25 August. The report will detail what is already known about the reforms and will suggest a way forward. A workshop with full council in September to firm up Council’s view is a possibility.

Once government has received feedback from local councils it will determine if any changes are required to the proposal and decide what next steps the reform will take, including things like public consultation.

“Only then would Buller District Council be in an informed position to seek community feedback.  At the moment there are still key elements of the reform to be determined by the government so it would be premature to consult the community with these unresolved.

It is important we consider the reforms on merit and in context of other regulatory changes already in play.”

The Three Waters Reform proposal is complex. The mayor is available at weekly chat sessions at the Clocktower most Monday mornings 9am – noon. Residents are welcome to call in and have a chat with him about the proposed three water reforms or other topics.


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For more information please contact

Buller District Council Mayor
Jamie Cleine



Information about what is being proposed can be found at www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/Files/Three-waters-reform-programme/$file/three-waters-reform-programme-overview-a3-30-june-2021.pdf

Go to the official Three Waters website https://threewaters.govt.nz/ for an overview of what is being proposed.


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