Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Agreement Delivers Local Water Done Well For Auckland

Hon Simeon Brown
Minister of Local Government
Minister for Auckland
Wayne Brown
Mayor of Auckland

The Government has delivered on its election promise to provide a financially sustainable model for Auckland under its Local Water Done Well plan. The plan, which has been unanimously endorsed by Auckland Council’s Governing Body, will see Aucklanders avoid the previously projected 25.8 per cent water rates increases while retaining local control of water assets.

The announcement was made at a joint press conference at Watercare’s Central Interceptor construction site in Māngere this afternoon by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Local Government Minister Simeon Brown, and Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

“Under the Local Water Done Well solution we have announced today, Aucklanders will avoid the 25.8 per cent water rate increases previously proposed by Watercare. We have worked closely with Mayor Brown and Auckland Council, and are thrilled to announce that Watercare’s more financially sustainable model will ensure water rates remain affordable both now and into the future,” Mr Brown says.

“The previous government wasted $1.2 billion over several years to deliver a water reform plan that was wasteful, took away local control, and was divisive. It was resoundingly rejected by voters.

“Some said that Local Water Done Well could not be done. But within the space of just six months, the Coalition Government has worked with Auckland Council on designing a new model for Watercare.”

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

The new model means Watercare will be able to borrow more money for long-term investment in water infrastructure and spread the borrowing over a longer period rather than front-loading the cost on to current ratepayers.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown says he has been working closely with central government to provide a simple, affordable water solution for Aucklanders, and that hard work paid off when the Council’s Governing Body unanimously voted for their preferred option at Thursday’s meeting.

“This outcome is exactly what we’ve been looking to achieve. The new government asked us to come up with a preferred model, and they’ve agreed to implement it, which is good. I want to thank the Minister and the Prime Minister for the way they have handled this,” Mayor Wayne Brown says.

“The idea of water rates increasing by more than a quarter in the year ahead was unacceptable. There had to be a better way, and by working in partnership with central government we have found one.

“I have long said that this was a balance sheet issue and needed to be treated like one. Councils should have more say about how we manage and deliver our water systems. The Government have taken this feedback seriously and worked closely with me to come up with this solution which will put water rates on a much more sustainable footing for the infrastructure we need.”

International credit ratings agency S&P Global Ratings has determined the model would mean Watercare’s borrowing is considered separate from Auckland Council for credit rating purposes.


  • Auckland Council’s decision means the council retains ownership and control over Watercare, but Watercare is provided with the necessary financial independence to access increased borrowing for investment in water services.
  • The Government will provide further details in mid-2024 on the broader range of structural and financing tools that will be available to other councils to ensure they can finance themselves appropriately and access the long-term debt required for investment in water services infrastructure.
  • Instead of the 25.8 per cent increase in water rates proposed by Watercare, Aucklanders will instead see a more manageable increase of 7.2 per cent.
  • The new model for Watercare will require legislative changes which will be made through the Local Government Water Services (Transitional Provisions) Bill. The Bill is expected to be introduced later this month.
  • The Government is currently forming an economic regulation system for water services. Legislation is expected to be before Parliament in December this year. The Government and Auckland Council have agreed that a Crown monitor be appointed to Watercare as a transitionary measure. The Crown monitor and charter will be in place for a few years until the economic regime is fully stood up.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines




InfoPages News Channels


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.