• Posted on: 13/04/2023
  • 2 minutes to read


On behalf of E tū, PSA, and AWUNZ

Unions support changed water infrastructure reforms

Changes to the Government’s water infrastructure reforms will fix drastic problems with Aotearoa’s water services while strengthening the connection between water entities and local communities.

Unions representing workers in the water industry remain united in supporting reforms to Aotearoa’s water infrastructure. E tū, The Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi (PSA), and the Amalgamated Workers Union NZ (AWUNZ) represent workers across water management, including technicians, engineers, administrators, fitters, labourers, local and central government officials, and more.

The changes will create 10 regional entities to manage the country’s water systems instead of four. PSA National Secretary Duane Leo says this will help address concerns our members may have about job security in smaller centres.

“Ten regional entities mean we can have greater confidence that roles won’t move to big cities and jobs won’t disappear from smaller centres,” Duane says.

“The National Transition Unit will remain essential to managing the reforms, beyond the handover to the new entities. We’ll keep engaging constructively ensure that the reforms are better for everyone, including affected workers.”

E tū Director Mat Danaher says the most important thing for workers is ensure they can at least maintain, if not improve, their pay and conditions.

“We are reassured that today’s changes don’t change the main thing concerning our members – which is that they must not be any worse off after transitioning to the new entities,” Mat says.

“The continued water reform programme is not just a chance to upgrade our water systems, but to upgrade our employment systems in the sector as well.”

The unions will work hard to maintain the principles already established in the reforms that affect their members. They want to keep the progress already made with pay, workforce transition, training, and health and safety.

Blake Monkley, AWUNZ water industry lead organiser, says "the reforms balance economies of scale with local input. It is clear that they offer a more viable path forward than what has so far been articulated by the opposition.”

“As working people our focus stays the same. We want well-resourced and trained jobs that will deliver safe and efficient outcomes for all New Zealanders. To that end we urge both the Government and the newly announced entities to work together to ensure industry-wide training and development of the skills we need. That principle remains the same with ten entities as it did with four."

The unions now urge everyone to get behind the reforms for the benefit of everyone.

Aotearoa needs water that’s safe to drink, sewage pipes that don’t burst, and infrastructure that’s resilient to natural disasters. We need all these things as soon as possible.