Water Services Bill

Water Services Bill

Government Bill

314—1

Explanatory note

General policy statement

This Bill is an omnibus Bill that will repeal Part 2A of the Health Act 1956 and replace it with a stand-alone Act to regulate drinking water. There are also amendments to the Local Government Act 2002 and amendments to other Acts, including a discrete amendment to the Resource Management Act 1991. The Bill is introduced under Standing Order 263(a) because the amendments deal with an interrelated topic that can be regarded as implementing a single broad policy. That single broad policy is to implement the Government’s decision to comprehensively reform the drinking water regulatory system, with targeted reforms to improve the regulation and performance of wastewater and stormwater networks.

Introduction

New Zealand’s drinking water regulatory system presents a number of challenges. There is a lack of compliance and enforcement activity, and significant variability in the size and capability of suppliers, with little support to assist them to comply with regulatory requirements. There has been a lack of Māori input within decision-making frameworks. As a result, the current drinking water regulatory system is failing to provide necessary assurances that drinking water supplies across New Zealand are safe and reliable.

To address these regulatory issues, the Bill is part of a broader package of reforms that includes—

  • establishment of a Crown agent, Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator (Taumata Arowai), which will be responsible for administering the regulatory regime in the Bill; and

  • reform of the National Environmental Standard for Sources of Human Drinking Water (which is a regulation made under the Resource Management Act 1991).

These measures comprise a significant part of the Government’s response to the report of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry. They provide the regulatory framework to implement the 6 fundamental principles of drinking water safety articulated by the Inquiry. These principles are—

  • a high standard of care must be embraced in relation to drinking water:

  • protection of source water is of paramount importance:

  • multiple barriers against contamination of drinking water must be maintained:

  • change precedes contamination of drinking water, and must never be ignored:

  • suppliers must own the safety of drinking water:

  • a preventive risk management approach must be applied in relation to drinking water.

Duties, obligations, and functions under Bill
Drinking water suppliers

The Bill imposes duties on drinking water suppliers. Those duties will apply to all drinking water suppliers, other than domestic self-suppliers, and include duties to—

  • provide safe drinking water and meet drinking water standards, along with clear obligations to act when drinking water is not safe or fails to meet standards:

  • ensure that there is a sufficient quantity of drinking water to support the ordinary needs of consumers, with clear obligations to act where supply is interrupted or restricted for any reason:

  • register drinking water supplies with Taumata Arowai, and keep essential details relating to supplies updated each year:

  • have a drinking water safety plan that contains a multi-barrier approach to drinking water safety:

  • notify Taumata Arowai and take action where there are risks to public health arising from drinking water, breaches of drinking water standards, or other significant risk events.

The Bill also imposes a duty on officers, employees, and agents of drinking water suppliers to exercise professional due diligence. This duty is based on similar requirements in the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Source water risk management

The Bill proposes new arrangements relating to sources of drinking water—that is, the freshwater bodies from which water is abstracted before treatment. These new arrangements are based on a preventive risk management approach, alongside open flows of information between local authorities, drinking water suppliers, and Taumata Arowai. Key measures for this approach include—

  • drinking water suppliers must have a source water risk management plan, which identifies the risks to a source of drinking water and manages, controls, or eliminates those risks as part of a drinking water safety plan:

  • local authorities must contribute to source water risk management plans by sharing information about risks and undertaking actions to address them on behalf of a drinking water supplier:

  • drinking water suppliers must monitor source water quality, and regional councils must assess the effectiveness of regulatory and non-regulatory interventions relating to source water every 3 years:

  • a new provision in the Resource Management Act 1991 to require consent authorities to have regard to risks, or potential risks, to source water when considering applications for resource consents.

Approach based on scale, complexity, and risk profile

The Bill provides mechanisms that enable many aspects of drinking water regulation to be proportionate to the scale, complexity, and risk profile of a supply, from large, capable suppliers through to small suppliers such as marae or rural suppliers.

Drinking water safety plans, source water risk management plans, and consumer complaints processes must be proportionate to the scale, risk, and complexity of a supply.

The Bill also provides a toolkit to Taumata Arowai to enable it to support suppliers in fulfilling their obligations, including templates, models, and acceptable solutions and verification methods for drinking water that are based on, and designed to be a good regulatory fit with, Building Act 2004 requirements.

Exemptions

The Bill contains 2 significant exemption powers. Both powers are vested with the chief executive of Taumata Arowai to ensure that they are exercised independently as follows:

  • a general exemption power allows the chief executive of Taumata Arowai to exempt a supply or class of supply from many of the key regulatory requirements in the Bill; and

  • a residual disinfection exemption power allows the chief executive of Taumata Arowai to exempt a supply from the requirement to treat a reticulated supply with residual disinfection (such as chlorination). This will allow a supplier to adopt arrangements or use treatment methods other than chlorination to make drinking water safe.

There are safeguards built into the exemption powers, including—

  • for a residual disinfection exemption, if the chief executive requires it, the supplier must first demonstrate to the satisfaction of the chief executive that the drinking water will comply with legislative requirements and the drinking water safety plan on an ongoing basis. This is in line with recommendations made by the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry; and

  • provision for both exemptions to be subject to terms and conditions and a maximum 5-year limit after which renewal is required.

Drinking water emergencies

The Bill contains powers enabling Taumata Arowai to declare and manage drinking water emergencies such as major infrastructure damage, contamination events, or droughts. Taumata Arowai must consult its responsible Minister before declaring a drinking water emergency.

Te Mana o te Wai

The Bill requires all persons who perform or exercise functions, powers, and duties under the legislation to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai. This parallels requirements imposed on local authorities under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, and on Taumata Arowai under the Taumata Arowai–the Water Services Regulator Bill.

As part of its governance arrangements, Taumata Arowai will have a Māori Advisory Group that is charged with advising on Māori interests and knowledge as they relate to the objectives, functions, and principles of Taumata Arowai. This includes—

  • developing and maintaining a framework that provides advice and guidance on how to interpret and give effect to Te Mana o te Wai:

  • providing advice on how to enable mātauranga Māori, tikanga Māori, and kaitiakitanga to be exercised.

Authorisations, occupational regulation, and laboratory accreditation

The Bill contains a framework to enable authorisations and occupational regulation of drinking water suppliers. This area is new in legislation and is designed to improve the professional capability of drinking water suppliers. The Water Services Bill contains detailed regulation-making powers supporting the authorisations framework so that—

  • some organisations will need to be authorised to operate a drinking water supply under competency requirements, such as having systems and processes or employees that meet professional skill or qualification requirements. All territorial authorities and council-controlled organisations will be required to become authorised, or have their drinking water services delivered by an authorised supplier, within 5 years of the commencement of the Bill:

  • some individuals who operate drinking water supplies, who test, assess, or certify supplies, or who sample drinking water will be required to meet minimum skills, qualification, or experience requirements.

The Bill also includes an accreditation regime for laboratories that test source water, raw water, and drinking water.

Reporting, compliance, and enforcement

The Bill contains a broad toolkit for compliance and enforcement. Along with powers adopted from the existing regime in Part 2A of the Health Act 1956, additional powers have been developed to ensure that there can be a graduated response to non-compliance. These powers are vested in the chief executive of Taumata Arowai and its compliance officers to ensure that they are exercised independently, and include—

  • powers for compliance officers to direct suppliers, with the chief executive able to issue compliance orders where non-compliance is persistent or serious:

  • search and information-gathering powers for compliance officers to obtain documents, test water samples, deal with serious risks to public health, enter premises without a search warrant to inspect drinking water infrastructure if an officer reasonably believes there is a serious risk to public health, and obtain a search warrant to investigate non-compliance:

  • new powers that enable the chief executive to enter into an enforceable undertaking with a drinking water supplier as an alternative to issuing a compliance order or seeking prosecution:

  • new statutory intervention powers that enable the chief executive to appoint an operator of a drinking water supply in cases of serious or persistent non-compliance:

  • new infringement offences that are available for minor non-compliance:

  • reformed offences to better direct the provisions at behaviours that need to be regulated. These include significant new offences where a supplier exposes consumers to a serious risk of death, illness, or injury through negligent or reckless conduct. Alongside this, the penalty levels have been increased so they are commensurate with comparable regimes:

  • additional sentencing options for the court, including tailored sentencing criteria and supervision and training orders.

The Bill requires Taumata Arowai to publish a compliance, monitoring, and enforcement strategy so it can take a graduated approach to regulation, reflecting the time it will take for suppliers to reach full compliance. The strategy will provide transparency about how Taumata Arowai intends to target its compliance, monitoring, and enforcement activities and support drinking water suppliers of different types, sizes, and abilities. The strategy must be reviewed at least every 3 years.

Consumer complaints

The Bill contains a consumer complaints framework. This is designed to ensure that consumer concerns about drinking water are properly investigated by suppliers, with action taken where necessary.

If a consumer is not satisfied that their complaint has been properly dealt with, they will be able to seek review of a decision by Taumata Arowai. The detail of the consumer complaints framework will be set out in regulations.

Defence and liability arrangements

The Bill contains strict liability offences (criminal offences where there is no requirement to prove that a person intended to commit the offence). For these offences, there is a defence available where a defendant proves that the commission of the offence was due to the act or omission of another person, an accident, or some other cause outside the defendant’s control, and the defendant took all reasonable precautions and exercised due diligence to avoid the commission of the offence.

Provisions clarify that body corporates or unincorporated bodies are liable for actions of officers, employees, or agents. There are also the following exemptions from criminal liability:

  • officers, employees, and agents of drinking water suppliers are liable for failing to meet the duty of due diligence imposed on them, but are otherwise not liable for offences relating to drinking water suppliers:

  • volunteers are not liable for negligence in the supply of unsafe drinking water or negligence in failure to take immediate action when drinking water is unsafe, for failure to provide a sufficient quantity of drinking water, for failure to advise consumers about, provide and report on complaint processes, or for failure to comply with the duty of due diligence:

  • elected local body office holders and boards of trustees are not liable for offences under the Bill.

Wastewater and stormwater

The Bill contains new national-level reporting, monitoring, and advisory functions for wastewater and stormwater, empowering Taumata Arowai to—

  • compile information about wastewater and stormwater networks in a national public database:

  • set environmental performance measures, which wastewater and stormwater operators will have to report against annually:

  • publish an annual report on the environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater networks and their compliance with applicable regulatory requirements (such as resource consents):

  • identify and promote national good practice for the design and management of wastewater and stormwater networks.

Relationship to Local Government Act 2002

The Bill contains new responsibilities for territorial authorities to ensure that their communities continue to have access to drinking water, understand the risks to ongoing access, and plan to ensure that services continue to be available. The Bill also places new responsibilities on territorial authorities when supplies fail or are at risk of failing. These provisions recognise the role that territorial authorities play in providing drinking water to their communities, and are contained in an amendment to the Local Government Act 2002 that will—

  • require territorial authorities to assess every 3 years the access that communities in their district have to drinking water services, and consider its implications for local government planning requirements:

  • require territorial authorities to work with a supplier, consumers of a supply, and Taumata Arowai to find a solution if drinking water services fail, or are at risk of failing, and ensure that consumers continue to have access to drinking water services—whether provided by the territorial authority itself, or by another supplier.

Transitional arrangements

Transitional arrangements in the Bill are that—

  • all supplies registered under the existing drinking water register will be transferred to the new drinking water register. Suppliers will have 12 months following commencement to register if they own an unregistered supply, or to supply details to comply with new registration requirements:

  • drinking water safety plans approved under the Health Act 1956 will continue in force. Drinking water supplies serving 500 or more consumers for at least 60 days per year will have 12 months following commencement to have a drinking water safety plan that complies with new requirements, and all other supplies will have 5 years following commencement:

  • all territorial authorities will be required to become authorised, or have their drinking water services delivered by an authorised supplier, within 5 years of commencement:

  • the first compliance monitoring and enforcement strategy must be made within 12 months of commencement.

The Government does not intend provisions relating to wastewater and stormwater to commence until 2 years following Royal assent, to allow Taumata Arowai to prioritise drinking water regulation.

Departmental disclosure statement

The Department of Internal Affairs is required to prepare a disclosure statement to assist with the scrutiny of this Bill. The disclosure statement provides access to information about the policy development of the Bill and identifies any significant or unusual legislative features of the Bill.

Regulatory impact statement

The Department of Internal Affairs produced a regulatory impact statement on 1 July 2019 to help inform the main policy decisions taken by the Government relating to the contents of this Bill.

Clause by clause analysis

Clause 1 is the Title clause.

Clause 2 is the commencement clause. The Bill comes into force on a date appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council or the date that is 2 years after the date on which it receives the Royal assent, whichever is earlier.

Part 1Preliminary provisions

Subpart 1—Purpose

Clause 3 states the main purpose of the Bill is to ensure that drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water to consumers by—

  • providing a drinking water regulatory framework that is consistent with internationally accepted best practice, including a duty on drinking water suppliers to have a drinking water safety plan and to comply with legislative requirements (such as drinking water standards) on a consistent basis; and

  • providing a source water risk management framework that, together with the Resource Management Act 1991, regulations made under that Act, and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, enables risks to source water to be properly identified, managed, and monitored; and

  • providing mechanisms that enable regulation of drinking water to be proportionate to the scale, complexity, and risk profile of each drinking water supply; and

  • providing mechanisms that build and maintain capability among drinking water suppliers and across the wider water services sector; and

  • providing a framework for the continuous and progressive improvement of the quality of water services in New Zealand.

Clause 4 provides an overview of the Bill.

Subpart 2—Interpretation

General

Clause 5 defines certain terms used in the Bill.

Key terms

Clauses 6 to 13 define the following key terms used in the Bill:

  • drinking water:

  • safe, in relation to drinking water:

  • drinking water supplier:

  • drinking water supply:

  • domestic self-supply and domestic dwelling:

  • operator:

  • owner:

  • point of supply.

Subpart 3—Key principles relating to functions, powers, and duties

Clause 14 defines Te Mana o te Wai and requires persons to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai when exercising or performing a function, power, or duty under the Bill to the extent that Te Mana o te Wai applies to the function, power, or duty.

Clause 15 states that a duty imposed on a person by or under the Bill may not be transferred to another person.

Clause 16 states that a person may have more than 1 duty imposed on the person by or under the Bill if the person belongs to more than 1 class of duty holder.

Clause 17 sets out a person’s obligations where more than 1 person has the same duty imposed by or under the Bill at the same time.

Subpart 4—General

Clause 18 provides that the transitional, savings, and related provisions set out in Schedule 1 have effect according to their terms.

Clause 19 provides that the Bill binds the Crown and that a Crown organisation must be treated as if it were a separate legal personality for the purpose of complying with the Bill.

Clause 20 sets out the circumstances in which the Bill may be enforced against the Crown.

Part 2Provisions relating to supply of drinking water

Subpart 1—Duties of drinking water suppliers

Clause 21 requires a drinking water supplier to ensure that the drinking water supplied by the supplier is safe and sets out the actions to be taken if there is a reasonable likelihood that any person will experience ill health as a result of consuming a supplier’s drinking water.

Clause 22 requires a drinking water supplier to ensure that the drinking water supplied by the supplier complies with the drinking water standards and sets out the actions to be taken if a supplier’s drinking water does not comply with the standards.

Clause 23 requires a drinking water supplier to register their drinking water supply in accordance with the requirements of subpart 7.

Clause 24 requires a drinking water supplier to take all reasonably practicable steps to supply drinking water that complies with aesthetic values issued or adopted by Taumata Arowai under clause 47.

Clause 25 requires a drinking water supplier to ensure that a sufficient quantity of drinking water is provided to each point of supply to which that supplier supplies drinking water.

Clause 26 sets out the action to be taken by a drinking water supplier if the supplier considers that the supplier’s ability to maintain a sufficient quantity of drinking water in accordance with clause 25 is or may be at imminent risk for any reason.

Clause 27 requires a drinking water supplier whose supply includes reticulation to ensure that the supply arrangements protect against the risk of backflow and provides for the installation of backflow prevention devices.

Clause 28 requires a drinking water supplier whose supply includes end-point treatment to provide for the installation of an end-point treatment device.

Clause 29 imposes a duty of due diligence on officers and employees of a drinking water supplier to comply with any applicable duty under a legislative requirement.

Subpart 2—Drinking water safety plans

Clause 30 requires an owner of a drinking water supply to have a drinking water safety plan that complies with legislative requirements.

Clause 31 sets out the content required for a drinking water safety plan.

Clause 32 requires Taumata Arowai to review drinking water safety plans and monitor compliance with drinking water safety plans.

Clause 33 sets out the requirements for temporary drinking water supply arrangements for a planned event such as a festival or camp.

Clause 34 sets out the requirements for the supply of drinking water on an unplanned basis.

Subpart 3—Requirements relating to notifications and record keeping

Clause 35 sets out requirements when a drinking water supplier becomes aware of a risk or hazard declared by Taumata Arowai, by notice in the Gazette, to be a risk or hazard that poses a significant risk to public health.

Clause 36 sets out the circumstances where a drinking water supplier must notify Taumata Arowai and every relevant territorial authority about specified matters.

Clause 37 sets out record keeping requirements for a drinking water supplier.

Subpart 4—Consumer complaints

Clause 38 sets out obligations on drinking water suppliers to provide prescribed information to consumers, to establish and maintain a consumer complaints process, and to report annually to Taumata Arowai on their consumer complaints process.

Clauses 39 and 40 set out Taumata Arowai’s responsibilities in respect of consumer complaints.

Subpart 5—Source water

Clause 41 states that the purpose of this subpart is to provide a framework to ensure that, together with measures in other enactments, the risks to source water are identified, managed, and monitored by drinking water suppliers and local authorities, and catchment-level information on source water, and measures to manage risks to those sources, is published on a regular basis by regional councils.

Clause 42 requires a drinking water supplier to prepare and implement a source water risk management plan.

Clause 43 requires a drinking water supplier to monitor source water quality.

Clause 44 requires Taumata Arowai and local authorities to share information on the location of drinking water abstraction points and known hazards or risks to a source of a drinking water supply or related infrastructure.

Clause 45 provides for publication of information on source water quality and quantity on a regional basis.

Subpart 6—Standards, rules, directions, and other instruments

Clause 46 provides for the making of regulations to issue or adopt drinking water standards.

Clause 47 provides for Taumata Arowai to issue or adopt aesthetic values that relate to drinking water.

Clause 48 provides for Taumata Arowai to make rules setting out requirements relating to the performance of functions or duties under Part 2.

Clause 49 provides for Taumata Arowai to issue an acceptable solution or verification method for use in establishing compliance with legislative requirements by notice in the Gazette.

Clause 50 sets out the effect of complying with an acceptable solution or a verification method.

Clause 51 provides for Taumata Arowai to issue a template or model for drinking water safety plans, or components of plans, by notice in the Gazette.

Clause 52 sets out the requirements for adequate public consultation for the making of drinking water standards, aesthetic values, compliance rules, and acceptable solutions or verification methods.

Subpart 7—Drinking water supply register

Clause 53 sets out the requirements for registration of a drinking water supply.

Clause 54 requires Taumata Arowai to keep and maintain a register of drinking water supplies.

Clause 55 requires the owner of a drinking water supply to renew registration of the supply every 12 months and update specified details relating to the supply.

Subpart 8—Exemptions to requirements on drinking water suppliers

Clause 56 provides that Taumata Arowai may, by notice in the Gazette, exempt any drinking water supplier or class of drinking water supplier from compliance with the requirements in clauses 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 30, 37, and 38.

Clause 57 sets out the requirement for residual disinfection in a drinking water safety plan and provides that Taumata Arowai may exempt a drinking water supplier from that requirement.

Subpart 9—Emergency powers

Clause 58 provides that Taumata Arowai may declare a drinking water emergency and sets out the requirements for a drinking water emergency declaration.

Clause 59 states that no drinking water emergency declaration may remain in force for longer than 28 days, unless regulations are made under clause 65 extending the period of the drinking water emergency.

Clause 60 states that a drinking water emergency may be declared while an emergency has been declared under another enactment. However, any designated officer exercising powers under the Bill is subject to the direction of other specified officers in the case of an emergency declared under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996, or the Biosecurity Act 1993.

Clause 61 sets out the emergency powers that may be exercised by Taumata Arowai during a drinking water emergency.

Clause 62 empowers Taumata Arowai to exempt drinking water suppliers from specified provisions during a drinking water emergency.

Clause 63 states that reasonable compensation is payable, subject to the provisions of the clause, for any loss resulting from the requisition or destruction of property to address a drinking water emergency or risk to public health from a drinking water supply.

Clause 64 provides that Taumata Arowai may exempt an action taken under emergency powers that breaches the provisions of Part 3 of the Resource Management Act 1991 from those provisions for up to 28 days.

Clause 65 provides for the making of regulations to continue an exemption under clause 64 beyond 28 days in specified circumstances, and to extend the period that a drinking water emergency declared under clause 58 remains in force up to a maximum of 2 years.

Clause 66 states that the effect of an exemption granted under clause 64 is that the provisions of Part 3 of the Resource Management Act 1991 do not apply to the actions while the exemption remains in force.

Subpart 10—Authorisations

Clause 67 provides that a person must not operate a drinking water supply, a wastewater network, or a class of drinking water supply or wastewater network if regulations require the operator to be authorised and the person is not authorised in accordance with the regulations.

Clause 68 provides that a person must not operate a drinking water supply, a wastewater network, or a class of drinking water supply or wastewater network if regulations require the operator to have or be supervised by a person who has prescribed skills, qualifications, or experience and the person does not have the prescribed skills, qualifications, or experience.

Clause 69 provides that a person must not sample drinking water if regulations require a person to have prescribed skills, qualifications, or experience and the person does not have the prescribed skills, qualifications, or experience.

Clause 70 requires a person to comply with the conditions of any authorisation given to that person that are prescribed in or under regulations.

Clause 71 provides for the making of regulations that prescribe matters relating to authorisations (including licences, certifications, registrations, and permits), qualifications, skills, and experience for the purposes of subpart 10.

Subpart 11—Laboratory accreditation and testing

Clause 72 requires a drinking water supplier to use an accredited laboratory to analyse source water, raw water, and drinking water as part of any monitoring requirements in a drinking water safety plan.

Clause 73 provides that Taumata Arowai may appoint a laboratory accreditation body.

Clause 74 empowers Taumata Arowai to prescribe requirements that an appointed laboratory accreditation body must apply to accredited laboratories that analyse water.

Clause 75 empowers Taumata Arowai to prescribe an amount that an appointed laboratory accreditation body may charge for the accreditation and subsequent audit of accredited laboratories.

Clause 76 provides that a laboratory accreditation body may accredit a person to perform the functions of a laboratory that analyses water.

Clause 77 requires a laboratory accreditation body to be satisfied that requirements for accreditation have been met before accrediting a laboratory that analyses water.

Clause 78 prescribes requirements for an application for accreditation.

Clause 79 provides that an accreditation may be suspended or revoked, or the scope of the accreditation amended, by the laboratory accreditation body in accordance with this clause.

Clause 80 requires a laboratory accreditation body to notify Taumata Arowai when it grants an accreditation to a laboratory.

Clause 81 requires Taumata Arowai to keep and maintain a register of persons accredited as a laboratory that analyses water.

Subpart 12—Statutory management and transfer of operations

Clause 82 permits the chief executive to appoint or require the appointment of operators to perform a drinking water supplier’s functions or duties under the Bill if the supplier has persistently failed to comply with 1 or more legislative requirements or there is a serious risk to public health that requires a new operator to be appointed to operate a drinking water supply.

Clause 83 provides criteria that the chief executive must consider before determining whether an appointment or reappointment should be made.

Clause 84 states the effect of making an appointment under clause 82.

Clause 85 provides that all costs, charges, and expenses incurred by Taumata Arowai for the purposes of clause 82 may be recovered from the drinking water supplier as a debt due to Taumata Arowai.

Clause 86 sets out conditions and requirements relating to an appointment under clause 82.

Clause 87 requires the chief executive to give prior notification to an affected drinking water supplier of an appointment under clause 82.

Subpart 13—Review and appeals

Internal review

Clauses 88 to 91 set out the decisions and actions for which an affected person may apply for review to Taumata Arowai, the review process, and the options open to Taumata Arowai.

Appeals

Clauses 92 to 96 set out the decisions and actions that an affected person may appeal against through the courts, the appeal process, and the options open to the courts.

Part 3Enforcement and other matters

Subpart 1—Provisions relating to appointment of compliance officers

Clauses 97 to 101 provide for the appointment of compliance officers.

Subpart 2—Powers of compliance officers

Clauses 102 to 117 set out the powers of compliance officers.

Subpart 3—Compliance orders

Clauses 118 to 123 provide for the issue of compliance orders, their form and content, and the obligation to comply with a compliance order.

Subpart 4—Remedial action

Clause 124 permits Taumata Arowai, in the case of non-compliance with a compliance order, to take such remedial action as Taumata Arowai believes reasonable to address risks to public health.

Clause 125 permits Taumata Arowai to take remedial action to address risks to public health in certain situations where a compliance order cannot be issued.

Clause 126 provides that Taumata Arowai may recover reasonable costs of remedial action under clauses 124 and 125 as a debt due to Taumata Arowai.

Clause 127 empowers the District Court to make orders in relation to non-compliance with a compliance order.

Subpart 5—Enforceable undertakings

Clauses 128 to 133 provide that Taumata Arowai may accept enforceable undertakings and the effect of enforceable undertakings.

Subpart 6—Planning and reporting requirements of Taumata Arowai

Clause 134 requires the board of Taumata Arowai to prepare and publish a drinking water compliance, monitoring, and enforcement strategy.

Clause 135 sets out requirements for an annual report that must be presented to the House of Representatives.

Subpart 7—Monitoring and reporting on environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater networks

Clause 136 requires Taumata Arowai to monitor and report on the environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater networks and network operators for specified purposes.

Clause 137 empowers Taumata Arowai to collect information for the purposes of monitoring and reporting on the environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater networks and network operators.

Clause 138 empowers Taumata Arowai to seek an order from the District Court to enforce compliance with clause 137.

Clause 139 requires Taumata Arowai to establish and maintain public registers for wastewater and stormwater networks.

Clause 140 requires Taumata Arowai to develop, publish, and maintain environmental performance measures for wastewater and stormwater networks.

Clause 141 requires Taumata Arowai to publish an annual report on the environmental performance of wastewater and stormwater networks and network operators.

Clause 142 clarifies that the obligation in clauses 135 and 136 is in addition to annual reporting obligations under the Crown Entities Act 2004.

Subpart 8—Infringement offences

Clauses 143 to 147 establish an infringement offence regime in respect of offences under this Bill or regulations made under this Bill.

Subpart 9—Criminal proceedings

Clauses 148 to 152 establish who may take enforcement action under this Bill. Private prosecutions for offences may only be taken where the chief executive of Taumata Arowai has notified the person that they have not taken, and do not intend to take, enforcement action against any person in respect of the same incident, situation, or set of circumstances.

Limitation periods for prosecutions

Clause 153 provides limitation periods for bringing a prosecution under this Bill.

Clause 154 provides for the chief executive to apply to the District Court to extend the time available to file a charging document for a period not exceeding 12 months from the date of expiry of the applicable period.

Clause 155 permits proceedings for an offence against subpart 10 to be brought after the end of the applicable limitation period if fresh evidence relevant to the offence is discovered and the court is satisfied that the evidence could not reasonably have been discovered within that period.

Defence for strict liability offences

Clause 156 provides a defence for listed strict liability offences.

Liability of certain persons

Clauses 157 and 158 provide for matters relating to the liability of bodies corporate, unincorporated bodies, principals and individuals.

Clauses 159 to 161 exclude volunteers and elected officials from liability for certain offences.

Subpart 10—Offences

Clauses 162 to 182 set out offences that may be committed against this Bill. They include offences relating to—

  • supply of unsafe drinking water:

  • failure to take immediate action to protect public health when drinking water is unsafe:

  • the duty to notify a notifiable risk or hazard:

  • the duty to provide an sufficient supply of drinking water:

  • the duty to register a drinking water supply:

  • drinking water safety plans:

  • exemptions, directions, and compliance orders:

  • failure to keep and maintain records:

  • failure to comply with emergency directions or conditions:

  • authorisations:

  • planned events or unplanned supply of drinking water:

  • consumer complaints:

  • duties associated with the administration of the Act.

Subpart 11—Sentencing for offences

Clauses 183 to 189 set out sentencing criteria and other provisions relating to sentencing for offences committed against this Bill.

Part 4Miscellaneous provisions

Clause 190 provides for the making of regulations for the purposes of the Bill.

Clause 191 provides for the making of regulations prescribing a levy for the purpose of recovering a portion of the costs of Taumata Arowai that relate to the performance or exercise of its functions, powers, and duties under this Act or any other enactment.

Clause 192 permits Taumata Arowai to recover any fee or levy payable to Taumata Arowai as a debt due.

Clause 193 permits the chief executive of Taumata Arowai to delegate the functions or powers of the chief executive under this Bill to any employee of Taumata Arowai.

Clause 194 permits Taumata Arowai and specified regulatory agencies to share information.

Clause 195 sets out publication requirements for various instruments made by Taumata Arowai under the Bill.

Clause 196 provides for amendments to be made to other enactments as set out in Schedule 2.

Part 5Amendments to Local Government Act 2002

Clauses 197 to 201 replace subpart 1 of Part 7, amend section 131, insert a new Part 3 in Schedule 1AA, and amend Schedule 10 of the Local Government Act 2002. These amendments align the obligations on territorial authorities to ensure communities have access to drinking water and are provided with wastewater and other sanitary services that comply with the requirements of this Bill. Territorial authorities will retain the responsibility of supplying drinking water if existing suppliers face significant problems with supplying access to drinking water.