Urgent need to unlock Three Waters funding and certainty

Two thirds of respondents in a Three Waters survey have had contracts either paused, deferred or cancelled in the past six months.

The survey, conducted by Water New Zealand and ACE New Zealand, across the membership of the two organisations, represents almost 100 contractors, consultancies, suppliers and councils.

Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says the findings reflect the growing concerns of an investment hiatus and an urgent need for certainty.

“Our members have been telling us about cancelled contracts for several months now. And this survey clearly shows that the supply chain is being impacted by uncertainty and a lack of expected, previously planned investment.”

According to the survey, around one third of respondents reported that new contracts had been issued in the last six months.

“Water services are provided by long-life multi-billion dollar assets. We need a well defined, committed and funded pipeline of work that avoids stop-start situations,” says Gillian Blythe.

The survey highlights the need for a long term agreed approach by central and local government that provides certainty.

The survey also revealed a significant drop in business confidence, with 75 percent reporting either significant or some deterioration in business confidence.

ACE New Zealand chief executive Helen Davidson says the Government needs to prioritise giving the sector confidence as soon as possible through clear direction on policy and projects.

“Businesses are telling us they can’t hold on any longer on the promise of investment. They need decisions and certainty now to sustain their businesses through the next few months to be ready when the Government needs them.

“We know businesses are already downsizing, and we are losing precious talent who can’t see a future career in Aotearoa New Zealand. When those skilled workers leave our shores, it will be difficult to attract them back when we need them. This will create further costs and delays to get things done, which affects all New Zealand.”

Key findings 

Contract outcomes in last 6 months - % of respondents (issued, paused, deferred, cancelled)

  • Renewals – 35%, 30%, 26%, 5%
  • Improvements in level of service – 32%, 30%, 32%, 8%
  • Growth – 26%, 36%, 26%, 9%
  • Recovery/climate related work: 28%, 27%, 16%, 5%

Business confidence

29 percent of respondents report significant deterioration in business confidence in the past six months while 46 percent report some deterioration, 13 percent report no change while 12 percent report some improvement.

See Three Waters survey results