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Better Off Funding decision

The Government has made $2 billion in ‘Better Off’ funding available to councils to support their transition through the Three Waters Reform.  Matamata-Piako's potential share of the funding is $17.27 million –  $4.32m in ‘Tranche 1’ (this year) and $12.95m in ‘Tranche 2’ (in 2024).

Council has a very clear stance on the Three Waters Reform - we do not support the current reforms, and will continue to oppose these, regardless of whether or not we apply for this funding. Several other councils around New Zealand have already indicated that they will apply for Better Off funding, but intend to continue to fight the reforms

We asked...

We asked what else Council should be considering when making their decision on whether or not to apply for funding (in addition to the arguments we were already considering). Submissions were open from 22 August to 4pm on 5 September - you can view copies of all the submissions here

Council's decision

On Wednesday 14 September Council voted to apply for the Government’s Better Off Support Package, tranche 1 funding of $4.32m.

Councillors considered the public feedback and strong arguments both for and against applying for the funding. The decision to apply for the funding was passed with eight votes in favour and four votes against. 

Council believes they have done everything they can to oppose the government's 3 Waters Reform, and will continue to oppose the reforms irrespective of receiving Better off funding.


Reasons for the decision

  • Council believes that despite continued opposition from Councils and individuals around the country, the government are likely to proceed with their proposed reforms. Refusing to accept this money would be "cutting off our nose to spite our face"
  • The funds will be able to be used to progress projects that are already in our plans, that can make a real difference to the community, at a lower cost to ratepayers - particularly at a time when cost pressures (such as inflation) are extremely high. 
  • We have sought independent legal advice to confirm that Council can continue opposing Three Waters Reform while accepting this funding.
  • We are not aware of any other Councils who are refusing to apply for the funding - including the other Councils who are opposing the reforms with us as part of Communities 4 Local Democracy
  • Refusing to apply for the funding would remove that opportunity for the next Council. The incoming Council could still opt not to accept or draw down the funds, but by not applying, the current Council would be limiting the options for the next Council, who will be elected next month. 
Frequently Asked Questions
How has the Better Off funding come about?

The Government has mandated changes to the way drinking water, waste water and storm water are delivered in our communities. With major challenges ahead for the three water services (collectively known as Three Waters), the changes aim to ensure all New Zealanders have access to safe, reliable and affordable water services, while taking better care of our environment.

In October 2021 the Government announced it would push ahead with its preferred Three Waters reform plan - mandating changes to water services nationally – and no longer giving Councils the choice of opting in or out of the reform.

For more information on the Three Waters reform head to

Project Timeline


Public survey opens

22 August



Public survey closes

4pm, 5 September


Council decision

14 September 2022


Funding application due

30 September