Chief executives have been appointed for most of the Three Waters entities.
The Government said the appointment of Jon Lamonte, Vaughan Payne, and Colin Crampton was a major milestone in the project.
The appointments were announced as huge floods struck Auckland and nearby regions, prompting debate about the quality and resilience of New Zealand’s water infrastructure.
Three Waters has faced some intense political criticism but the Government said it was crucial for enabling changes in water services delivery.
The project’s name referred to drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.
Four new publicly-owned water services entities will be established, organised geographically. Currently 67 local authorities run water affairs.
Lamonte, Payne and Crampton will run organisations known as Entities A, B and C when those entities begin operation on July 1 next year.
A candidate to run Entity D pulled out of the process.
The new chief executives will join a national transition unit in the coming months, the Three Waters website added.
Lamonte will run Entity A, which is expected to include Auckland and Northland.
Lamonte was chief executive of Auckland’s Watercare from April 2021.
Before that, he held transport sector chief executive roles in the Australia and the UK, where according to Three Waters, he oversaw significant development and investment in infrastructure projects.
He started his career at the UK’s Royal Air Force and became a senior officer.
Payne will run Entity B, covering most of the central North Island including Taranaki.
He is of Whakatōhea and Ngāi Tai iwi and was Waikato Regional Council chief executive for seven years and Ōpōtiki District Council chief executive for five years.
Three Waters said Payne was joining the national transition unit from Te Pūkenga (NZ Institute of Skills and Technology), where he was deputy chief executive of operations.
He until recently also sat on the steering group for He Waka Eke Noa Climate Partnership.
Crampton will run Entity C, which is expected to cover the North Island east coast, Nelson and Marlborough.
He has been chief executive of Wellington Water which delivered water services to metro Wellington and South Wairarapa.
Three Waters said Crampton was previously group manager of highways and network operations at Waka Kotahi NZTA.
At the transport agency, he was responsible for leading state highway network operations and management.
“During this time, he was responsible for overseeing significant change processes within the infrastructure sector in the Wellington region and brings extensive local knowledge to this role,” Three Waters added.
Crampton is also a director of Port Marlborough in Picton and Wellington Lifeline deputy chair.
The Department of Internal Affairs was currently looking for someone to run Entity D, which will cover the rest of the south and Rakiura/Stewart Island.