Wellington Scoop

Mayoral taskforce will inquire “collaboratively” into water problems and “identify initiatives”

News from WCC
Wellington Mayor Andy Foster has today released the terms of reference for the Mayoral Taskforce on Water that he announced last week. These will be endorsed at Council meeting on Wednesday.

“We’ve had a series of events over the summer, we’ve asked a lot of questions of our staff and of Wellington Water, and concluded that further investigation is required, which is why I have established a Mayoral taskforce. Our water infrastructure is the most fundamental of services and I want Wellingtonians to see that we are focused on this issue.

“The purpose of my Taskforce on Water is to work collaboratively to inquire into specific problems relating to the ‘three waters’ in Wellington and identify initiatives to address these.

“Ultimately we all want a Capital City fit for the future.

“While these issues are not unique to Wellington they are of serious concern and so we need a group focussed solely on it, which is what the Taskforce will provide.

“In the meantime, we continue to work with Wellington Water to ensure that specific current problems are dealt with efficiently and that communication with the public about them is improved.”

Mayoral Taskforce: Three Waters
Terms of Reference

The purpose of the Mayoral Taskforce: Three Waters is to inquire into specific problems relating to water issues in Wellington, and identify initiatives to address these issues by recommending an action plan to Wellington City Council.

The Scope of the Taskforce is to review matters within the boundaries of Wellington City as follows:
Review the state of Wellington’s water services infrastructure which includes:

The amount of water leakage along private connections and public networks prior to water reaching its destination.
The quality of drinking water within Wellington City
The amount of leakage from wastewater networks (and private connections) into stormwater networks and their impact on natural waterways and beaches.

Review the current asset management plans for three waters and adequacy of the current renewals and maintenance programme.

Investigate what is required to deliver a resilient and sustainable long term water services network including:
The nature of investment required and whether the current Long-term Plan and draft Annual Plan budgets are sufficient to meet the current and future needs of Wellington city.

Review the adequacy of service level key performance indicators, including:

Timeframes for response and repair issues;
Reviewing the support available to residents in times of disruption.

Review the use of the contractor model for the delivery of services by WWL.

Review the Governance arrangements in place relating to water services infrastructure in Wellington (noting that it is a regional entity) including:
the governance arrangements between Wellington City Council and Wellington Water Limited;
Identifying whether improvements can be made to the way in which Wellington Water and Wellington City Council work together;
The relationship between Iwi mana whenua, Wellington City Council and Wellington Water in relation to water services issues in Wellington.

Any other matters that relate to the Purpose and which arise during the Taskforce’s operation.

Implement a Communications and Engagement approach that keeps businesses, communities and interested parties well informed including:
Reviewing communication with residents including in times of disruption;
Reviewing the communication systems in place between Wellington City Council, residents and other bodies including Greater Wellington Regional Council and Regional Public Health including the determination of health warnings.
Make recommendations to Wellington City Council on the issues above which may include recommended action plans, mitigation strategies and opportunities, while ensuring that any proposed solutions strengthens our communities, brings people together and builds a sustainable and resilient community.

The Mayoral Taskforce shall be comprised as follows:
The Mayor Andy Foster (Chairperson)
Chair of Council-Controlled Organisations Subcommittee
Chair of Finance, Audit and Risk Subcommittee
Portfolio Leader on Infrastructure – Three Waters
Up to two further Councillors (names to be confirmed);
One representative of the Wellington Water Ltd Board; (name to be confirmed);
One representative of the Wellington Water Committee (name to be confirmed);
Two Iwi mana whenua representatives will be invited to join the Mayoral Taskforce (names to be confirmed).
The Mayor may appoint a Deputy Chairperson.
The Mayor has the power to co-opt members as required.

Administrative matters

Timing: The Taskforce will report back to the full Council. Regular progress reports will be provided by the Taskforce and made publicly available. The timing of the reports will allow for input into the final 2020/21 Annual Plan.
Support: The Taskforce shall be supported by Wellington City Council as designated and directed by the Chief Executive Officer. This shall include the provision of independent and specialist expertise.
Meetings: The Taskforce shall meet on an as required basis. Telephone conferences may be held in between these dates for the purpose of discussion or consultation on papers. The Taskforce can determine its meeting protocol and procedures, and invite any person or party to attend to assist the Taskforce with its inquiry.
Media: The Mayor of Wellington will be the spokesperson for all communication in relation to the Taskforce.
Conflict of interest: Members should discuss any potential conflict of interest with the Chairperson and may be required to remove themselves from the discussion.


  1. Traveller, 25. February 2020, 8:49

    Where are the experts?

  2. Hel, 26. February 2020, 21:49

    How absolutely bizarre not a single person who knows anything about three waters infrastructure, it would be hard to come up with a less qualified taskforce.

  3. michael, 27. February 2020, 9:19

    The fact the council is convening a taskforce speaks volumes to the lack of control and overview they have had over our infrastructure over the years. All of the criteria the taskforce is looking into would be moot had there been effective reporting and auditing. The only way the council will be able to bring people together and build a sustainable and resilient community is by using an independent taskforce to enable a complete and transparent enquiry.