NZ eyes PPPs to support water changes

The New Zealand government is looking to empower local authorities to use PPPs to improve their water infrastructure, following the repeal of legislation designed to centralise the country’s water network.

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The Three Waters Reform Programme was launched by the previous administration in 2020 and aimed to improve the regulation and delivery of the three water services (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) by taking them out of the control of New Zealand’s 67 councils and placing them into four larger public entities.

However, the plans faced a wave of opposition, amid concerns over the transfer of these powers away from local communities.

The recently elected coalition government has subsequently scrapped the plans, and one of the coalition members, the ACT Party, has now suggested that PPPs could be deployed to ensure water infrastructure is maintained to a high standard.

The party said it had committed the government to “instituting long-term city and regional infrastructure deals, empowering local authorities to use public-private partnerships and tolling to fund their own infrastructure – including the pipes”.