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Water Reform

August 2018

With the New Zealand Government reviewing how the three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) are managed, it appears that New Zealand is on the cusp of significant change to the way the water industry operates. Any structural reform of the water sector will have major implications for all of local government.


Ministers will report back to Cabinet in October 2018 on high level options with the Department of Internal Affairs expected to signal the direction of reform and work through detailed design options including any legislative changes in 2019. In the meantime, the debate about local versus regional approaches and the creation of a dedicated water regulator continues across the country. It is no surprise that cost is a significant discussion point as councils, particularly smaller councils, face challenges not only to fund the delivery of three waters and meet those specific legislative requirements, but also in providing other local government services and functions.


At Morrison Low we understand central and local government reform processes, and we understand three waters. We take an integrated approach to reforms which we have built on through our experience in local government reform processes in New Zealand, Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. This approach draws on our strengths in asset management, organisational reviews and governance, financial modelling, business cases, procurement and strategic planning.


We provide strategic asset management advice to councils for three waters, have undertaken service delivery reviews, identified preferred delivery options and implemented new delivery models. In implementing service reviews and organisational change, we have undertaken complex procurement processes, developed shared services models and established Council Controlled Organisations. This is supported by our experience in financial modelling as we are able to model the impact of different options on council including; potential loss of staff, impact on rates, impact on revenue, financing and funding.


We have significant experience setting up Council Controlled Organisations / Joint Ventures and other new entities developing new structures, systems and processes.


We can help you to understand the potential impacts from water reforms in the short and long term and what it may mean for you and your community and stakeholders.


How Morrison Low can assist you with Water Reforms and reviews

  • Facilitation of workshops at governance and management levels to explore and understand the potential impacts of change
  • Organisational review to ensure the structure is appropriate given the nature of the reforms and to maximise the opportunity reform brings
  • Identification of risks for your organisation and opportunities to mitigate those
  • Identification of potential impacts (costs and savings) from structural changes
  • Identifying capacity and capability / resourcing issues
  • Undertaking service delivery reviews (where appropriate)
  • Contract management and procurement
  • Programme planning and management of transition processes
  • Harmonisation / development of new systems, processes and approaches
  • Handover of assets (where relevant). 


 Contact Cushla Anich or Dan Bonifant.