Welcome to our new daily podcast, The Front Page, where senior journalist Damien Venuto goes behind the headlines to grill newsmakers and journalists on the big stories of the day. The Front Page will be released at 5am every weekday morning - offering you insights and context on the major issues and topics of interest. You can listen to The Front Page above, and find it on iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.
The problems with New Zealand's water management were laid bare for all to see over the last week.
Right after it was revealed that Wellington hasn't had fluoride in its water for months, streets across Auckland flooded due to problems with stormwater systems, and this was then shortly followed by floods and wastewater spillage in the capital.
Even the elite of New Zealand society hasn't been spared the impacts of these issues, with the street of the Prime Minister's home in Auckland among those affected.
So will this cacophony of issues push the public toward greater acceptance of the Government's plans to revamp water management across the country?
Having reported on the ongoing issues for a number of years, Wellington senior reporter Georgina Campbell tells the Front Page that these aren't isolated examples but rather further evidence of ongoing legacy issues that date back decades.
She also warns that those in the regions should watch what's happening in Wellington because the capital could serve as a precursor for what's to come elsewhere.
"What is important to remember about Wellington is how old the city is," Campbell says.
"Some of the pipes that we rely on to carry wastewater away from our homes and to be treated are literally 120 years old. But you can't see these pipes, can you? And because they've been underground, they've been out of sight and out of mind and haven't been invested in properly.
"While other regions around the country might say: 'Our pipes are fine. It's nothing like what's happening in Wellington.' That's probably because they're not as old as Wellington's and it's really only a matter of time before we're all facing the same reality."
Adding further complexity to Wellington's situation was the stark revelation this week that the water in the city had not been fluoridated since last year.
The controversy was significant enough for Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson to call Wellington Water's oversight "ridiculous".
Asked whether this was simply political posturing or legitimate criticism, Campbell didn't hesitate.
"This is absolutely legitimate criticism from Grant Robertson – not only is he the Deputy Prime Minister, but he's also the Wellington central MP," says Campbell
"He's seen Wellington's water woes for himself. But, look, I would actually go further than what Robertson has said.
"This is a scandal and it is outrageous. It is seriously in a league of its own, in terms of any other water issue I have reported on over the years, and I have reported on a lot.
"The reason being, that the ones that lose out at the end of the day are kids who potentially, for four years, haven't been getting effective fluoride in their water. And we know how important fluoride is in the fight against tooth decay. In Porirua, for example, dental health is among the top three reasons children under the age of 5 are admitted to hospital for conditions that could have been avoided."
Campbell says that the gravity of these issues points to a need for improvement in the way water is managed across the country.
The Government has taken steps to do this through its Three Waters plan, but the response to this has been downright antagonistic from some quarters.
"To put it simply, the three waters – our stormwater, wastewater and drinking water - are managed by sixty-seven territorial authorities, Watercare in Auckland and Wellington Water," explains Campbell.
"What the Government wants to do is move ownership and management of water infrastructure away from councils and into the hands of four water services agencies, which will be split regionally, and which councils will jointly own.
"The reason the Government wants to do this is that water pipes have been left to languish underground by councils and government politicians focused on more exciting things, like Convention Centres for example."
Despite the need for improvement, local councils around the country have been railing against the proposed changes since they were first announced.
"There's quite a divide between cities and then also in provinces," says Campbell.
"In Wellington, we've experienced some really stark examples of what can go wrong when you don't invest in new water pipes. We've had literal geysers erupting in the streets, sludge pipes breaking and other pipes failing. So I suspect Wellington is actually more sympathetic to the reforms."
This is in contrast to Auckland, says Campbell, which has invested significantly in its systems and has also introduced Watercare, which does a better job than most councils.
"Auckland doesn't want to be lumped with other councils and become responsible for pipes which haven't been looked after as well.
"And then when you look at provinces, where decision-making can feel very local, there's a feeling that the Beehive is taking something away from them with these reforms."
Opposition leader Chris Luxon has noticed the growing frustration at a local government level and has used it in his criticism of the Government's proposed reforms.
"There's a really strong narrative at the moment about centralisation, whether it's the DHB reforms or the three waters reforms … Local government itself is under review by the Government and councils feel like local decision-making has been eroded. For some, it calls into question their very existence.
"I'm not surprised that Opposition parties are picking up on that narrative locally as they go about the country and talk to communities and are using that as an attack line on the Government, especially because it is local body elections this year."
At this stage, it's still too early to tell whether the latest string of water-related issues will be enough to bring more people on board, but the Government still seems committed to pushing through the changes regardless.
"The Government has the numbers to do whatever it wants at the moment, and it has spent so long making the case for these reforms that I think they will likely push it through," says Campbell.
"Obviously, we did have that recent poll that wasn't so great for Labour and these reforms have proven unpopular, so there is a small change that they might backtrack – but that's very unlikely."
The Front Page is a new daily news podcast from the New Zealand Herald, that will be available to listen to every weekday from 5am.