Opposition parties have questioned the independence of the man heading up the Government's working group to review three waters after the extent of his firm's involvement in the reforms was revealed.
Doug Martin, the person appointed as the independent head of the Government's working group on three waters is the founder and former director of MartinJenkins.
One of the firm's current directors, Nick Davis has been contracted to the Government as the chief strategic director for reforms.
There is no official conflict of interest, but opposition parties say there's a problem with the appointment.
National's local government spokesman Chris Luxon said the appointment was "concerning".
"It is concerning that the same firm that embedded a consultant in a senior DIA role working on the Three Waters programme has now supplied the independent working group chair. That deserves further questioning," Luxon said.
"Regardless, the working group is simply a box-ticking exercise. It's hard to have any confidence it will deliver material change when the legislation is already drafted and due in Parliament in the coming weeks," he said.
Act's local government spokesman Simon Court said the appointment would not "deliver the kind of robust and independent critique of Three Waters that's sorely needed. Is MartinJenkins really going to criticise the work of MartinJenkins?"
Last week, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced the membership of a working group which would review some of the most contentious aspects of the three waters reform programme.
The group was headed up by Martin, former deputy state services commissioner, and founder of consultancy MartinJenkins - the firm that still carries his name.
MartinJenkins has already had extensive involvement with the Government's three waters reform.
The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA), which has been leading the policy work on three waters had earlier contracted Davis, a current MartinJenkins director to be the "chief strategic director" for three waters and to head up the secretariat for the reform programme's steering committee.
Davis' name appears on DIA materials as one of the principal contacts for the minister to call on should she wish to discuss any material in the papers (the other principal contact on one paper is Allan Prangnell, who has been with DIA for four years, but was a longtime MartinJenkins staffer prior).
A spokesman for DIA, answering on behalf of both the Government and Martin, confirmed Davis had been "contracted" to work on the reforms.
He said that while Martin was a founding partner of MartinJenins, he "exited his ownership interest some years ago" and only occasionally undertakes "assignments for clients when asked through a contract relationship".
Companies office records show Martin ceased to be a director in 2016, but the firm's website lists him prominently among current directors, and he continues to use a MartinJenkins email.
Davis became a director for the firm in 2008.
The spokesman said that Martin's appointment was "independent of MartinJenkins" and reflected Martin's "unmatched, skills, experience and local government knowledge".
He said that "MartinJenkins are one of a number of consultancies that the Department has engaged over the course of the reforms".
"MartinJenkins has provided support to the Programme working closely alongside the department's commercial, financial, engineering and legal advisors: EY, Beca, Mafic and MinterEllisonRuddWatts.
"To ensure the reform programme is well informed by high quality analysis and evidence, the Programme has drawn independent external advice from a wide range of experts, including the Water Industry Commission for Scotland, Frontier Economics, FarrierSwier, GHD-Boffa Miskell and Castalia among others," they said.