Final Three Waters decisions must involve unions

Local government workers must be part of the final three waters decisions, says the nation’s largest union.

The PSA is welcoming the announcement by Minister Mahuta today that the Government will continue to receive expert input as the final decisions around the reform are made, but says a union voice must be clearly present in the conversations if the new entities are to be successful.

“Today’s announcement that the reform will be mandated across all councils makes it even more key that the people working in these councils, doing this work, continue to have a voice in the decisions”, says PSA National Secretary Erin Polaczuk.

“Throughout the consultation process, those working in the sector have said loudly and clearly that they want a say in how the new three waters entities will look. These are the people who are running our current three waters infrastructure now – and they’ll be the people getting the new entities up and running in 2024. They bring expert knowledge of the weaknesses and the strengths of the current system, and without their continued input we will miss opportunities to make sure the new entities are the best they can be to serve all New Zealanders.

“Our members have told us that much more detail is needed on the governance and accountability of the new entities. The accountability and oversight working group the Minister announced today needs to include union representation so these insights are captured and acted on.

“Ultimately, our members do these jobs because they’re passionate about making sure everyone in Aotearoa has equitable access to clean water - the same goal the Government says it wants to achieve through the reform. For this reform to be successful, the people who’ll be tasked with implementing it need to continue to be involved all the way through.”