In this section

Text box explaining what the three waters are - drinking water, waste water and stormwaterOn Wednesday 27 October the Government announced it would introduce legislation in December 2021 that would see the reforms put in place by July 2024. It also removed the option for Councils to opt-out of the reforms.

The Council is extremely disappointed that the Government has made the decision to force councils to become part of their new Three Waters reform entities.

The Council entered into the reform process after the Government committed to giving councils a choice about opting in or out of any proposed new entity.

Based on that assurance, we committed to consult with our communities before making any decision – that opportunity has now been stripped away from us

The Government’s reforms will mean significant changes both for the Council and for residents, in the way that water services are managed in Selwyn.

On these pages you can find information about what the Government is proposing, what it might mean for Selwyn and what we are doing about it.

What is the Council doing now?

September 2022 - Public submission on Water Services Entities BIll

The Council has provided its submission  [PDF, 160 KB]on the Water Services Entities Bill. Mayor Sam Broughton is speaking to the submission before the select committe on 1 September 2022.

July 2022 - Water Services Entities Bill

The Government introduced the Water Services Entities Bill on 2 June 2022. This Bill is part of the suite of changes proposed by Government under its Three Waters Reform programme. It is currently before Finance and Expenditure Select Committee.

The Bill establishes four publicly owned water services entities that will provide safe, reliable, and efficient water services in place of local authorities.

Selwyn District Council has consistently raised concerns with Government over key aspects of the Three Waters Reform. We have reiterated these concerns in our Council submission to the Select Committee [PDF, 160 KB].

Key issues raised in our draft submission include:

  • The need for better local consultation and democratic input to ensure localized decision-making, supporting local well-being outcomes
  • The risk of the reforms compromising our ability to plan for the district’s growth in an integrated way
  • Concern that the entity model should be better aligned to regional boundaries and engagement with local communities and stakeholders
  • Support for the use of local providers and contractors to support service delivery.
  • Lack of clarity around arrangements for stormwater under the proposed reforms

For more information:
www.parliament.nz/en/pb/bills-and-laws/bills-proposed-laws/document/BILL_124081/water-services-entities-bill

Background – March 2022

On Wednesday 23 March the Council reaffirmed it will continue to advocate for quality water services and better outcomes for Selwyn residents, as the Government pushes ahead with their proposed three waters reforms.

The Council continues to oppose the direction of the proposed Government reforms and is concerned about their impact on water services for Selwyn residents.

“We accept there needs to be change however we don’t agree that the current three waters proposal is the best or only way forward,” says Mayor Sam Broughton.

“The government has done a poor job at communicating the need for change in Selwyn and we publicly expressed our disapproval to them last year.

“We are disappointed at the government’s disregard for councils and local communities in the way it has run this process so far. We are also frustrated by the poor response over key questions we have raised with Government about the reforms.

“We will continue to be a strong and independent voice speaking out for Selwyn people, to make sure they get the best outcome from these reforms.”

Mayor Broughton says the Council’s focus will be on ensuring its concerns are addressed and on shaping the outcome of the reforms, so that the district continues to receive excellent water services.

The Council also committed to work constructively with mana whenua to ensure the best possible outcomes for Selwyn.

The Council will be reviewing the recommendations of the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability of New Water Services Entities and continuing to seek important information that has not yet been answered, to further shape its work.

Water is the most important asset for the district and communities need to be able to have a say in the way their services are delivered that takes account of the unique nature of their water supplies.

“We need to see accountability in the reforms that ensures that Selwyn residents don’t lose that local voice and assurances that our people will see their needs met. That is what we will be working for – for Selwyn residents to get a service that continues to deliver for all of us,” Mayor Broughton says.


We continue to seek answers to the questions we raised in our formal response [PDF, 1874 KB] in September seeking more detail on how the new reforms would work and how the community will continue to have a say in the governance and accountability and are represented in the new entity managing our three waters services.

In our response we have asked a series of questions seeking more detail on the reform proposals and called for a pause in the reforms so we have the time and the full information to make an informed decision.


We asked for more information from Government – about things like

  • Future costs to our communities and how they’ve been calculated
  • Ensuring continued access to services
  • When will our communities get the opportunity to see the detail of the proposal – and have a say?
  • How will our communities’ local voice be safeguarded?
  • How will the partnership with mana whenua work?
  • Who will set the priorities for investment decisions?

In February the Minister for Local Government replied  [PDF, 479 KB].The Council is not satisfied with the answers to a number of these questions and we continue to seek answers on behalf of Selwyn residents.

More information