Wellington's water leaders say it's problematic and strange they have been left without a seat at a committee that's described as a key reference point for incoming water reforms.
The Government is in the middle of reforming local government's three waters services into a small number of multi-regional entities.
The joint Three Waters Steering Committee was established to ensure perspectives, interests, and expertise of both central and local government are accommodated as the reform programme progresses, a Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson said.
There are two representatives from Auckland Council on the committee, one from Bay of Plenty Regional Council, and one from Christchurch City Council.
In total there are 15 representatives from councils across the country.
Wellington City Council's Three Waters portfolio leader and councillor Sean Rush told the Herald it was strange Wellington wasn't among them.
"I do sense perhaps maybe because of the so called bickering going on at Wellington City Council- that may have played a role. I'm not sure."
The matter was raised at a Wellington Water Committee meeting on Friday, which Rush said was the first opportunity he had to do so since finding out the region didn't feature on the Steering Committee.
It's understood the membership was updated late last year.
"We signalled early to the Government that we were right behind these reforms because we wanted a seat at the table," Rush said
Rush noted Wellington Water has already undergone similar changes to what the Government is considering.
The company manages water assets for the Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt and Wellington City councils, South Wairarapa District Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council.
Rush also pointed to valuable knowledge gained from a recent mayoral taskforce into Wellington's water woes, which had the input of national and international experts.
"We've got all the problems that most of New Zealand has in the Wellington Water region, which includes rural South Wairarapa and, of course, we are the leading city of old infrastructure."
Porirua City Council chief executive Wendy Walker told the Wellington Water Commitee the steering group was used as the reference point for the whole reform programme.
"I think the fact we don't have a voice there is a problem."
The Wellington Water Committee resolved to make an application to the Department of Internal Affairs to be invited to join the Three Waters Steering Committee.
This was despite Upper Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy saying it was a little too late: "The train's gone".
Local government members on the Steering Committee were nominated by Local Government New Zealand and Taituarā, previously known as the Society of Local Government Managers.
A Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson said members reflected views across territorial, regional and unitary authorities, and between the metropolitan, rural and provincial sectors.
The joint Steering Committee is also supported by specialist reference groups, they said.
Walker is chairwoman of the System Design Reference Group, which also has a Greater Wellington Regional Council representative.
The group's role is to test issues around overall system and institutional design, entity purpose, ownership, governance, accountability, and funding.
Meanwhile, Wellington Water has two representatives on the Water Infrastructure Reference Group.
This is a technical advisory group made up of infrastructure experts.
Currently, 67 different councils own and operate the majority of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater services across New Zealand.
The Three Waters reforms come as local government faces increasing challenges in the provision of these services, including funding infrastructure deficits.