Local water done well

In too many places in New Zealand, the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater systems are failing, causing pollution, wastage and massive bills for ratepayers. Labour has pushed through Parliament its undemocratic and unpopular Three Waters policy which is an asset grab that would take water services off the local communities who own them, and transfer them to four mega-entities that have mandatory co-governance. It’s the wrong answer and no-one wants it.

National will repeal Three Waters and replace it with our Local Water Done Well plan. It will ensure that drinking water, stormwater and wastewater remain in local control, with strict water quality standards and a requirement for councils to invest in the ongoing maintenance and replacement of their vital water infrastructure.

Our plan

One - National will, in its first 100 days, repeal Labour’s Three Waters legislation and scrap the four mega-entities, with prescribed co-governance, that goes with them.

Two - We will restore council ownership and control, but with stronger central government oversight because we’re not simply going back to the old way of doing things that hasn’t worked.

Three - We will set strict rules for water quality, and for investment in infrastructure, so Kiwis don’t have to worry about sewage on their streets, un-swimmable beaches, or having to boil their drinking water.

Four - We will ensure water services are financially sustainable so that future generations don’t inherit outdated or failing infrastructure.  Financial sustainability means there’s enough money coming in, either from rates or from user-pays, to cover the maintenance and depreciation of infrastructure and investment in new assets. We’ll require councils to ringfence money for water infrastructure, instead of spending it on other services.  New infrastructure is expensive but has a long life so it’s appropriate that it’s funded by debt, and paid back over time out of rates or user revenues.

Our plan will restore New Zealanders’ confidence that water infrastructure is being funded on a continuous basis, with investment being made when and where it’s needed. We’ll ensure communities get what they pay for. Local Water Done Well is a pathway to environmental and financial sustainability of quality water services across New Zealand.

Read the full policy document here.