Stakeholder and materiality

Reporting on what’s important to our stakeholders and our business is the basis for this integrated annual report. It is structured around the material customer, business, environmental, social and governance topics that stakeholders and Watercare identified as most relevant in 2019/20.

These are the key issues that have a material impact on the long-term success of our business and our wider operating environment. Other than the significant impacts from the drought and COVID-19, these issues broadly remain the same as reported in our 2019 Annual Report.

Climate change continues to be material to Watercare as it has a huge potential to impact our operations and services, and has significantly influenced our decision-making in 2019/20.

Watercare is accountable to a wide range of stakeholders, which comprise the entities or individuals that can affect or be affected by the organisation’s activities. We have a structured process of engagement with many of our stakeholders. Media enquiries, complaints and other public interaction have also helped us to understand stakeholders’ expectations. The issues that were considered important by our stakeholders during the year are set out below.

Key issues

  • Drought
  • COVID-19
  • Climate change
  • Safe, clean, reliable drinking water,
  • Health, safety and well-being of our people
  • Responsible infrastructure stewardship
  • Infrastructure planning for future growth
  • Effective wastewater management
  • Long-term financial stability.

The ongoing drought and COVID-19 have affected each of the stakeholder groups below so these two issues are common to all of our stakeholder groups. Apart from these, the issues that relate to the individual stakeholder groups are:

Auckland Council

  • Climate change
  • Promoting Māori outcomes
  • Water and wastewater investment
  • Progress on Central Interceptor project
  • Investigating commercial opportunities and funding.


  • Involvement and contribution to Department of Internal Affairs’ review of ‘three waters’
  • Proposed central government reform to the water industry.

Environmental groups

  • Early involvement in Watercare’s programmes
  • Watercare’s climate change strategy and action
  • Environmental management of the Central Interceptor project
  • Hūnua revegetation programme.

Residential and commercial customers

  • Responsiveness to issues (billing, faults) 
  • Affordability of services
  • Impact of stage 1 water restrictions on businesses
  • Water efficiency (for businesses) in order to reduce their operational costs.


  • Delivery of the Auckland Housing Programme and wider support to the Government’s major urban transformation programmes in the region 
  • Coordinating and delivering infrastructure to service new growth areas in Auckland 
  • Upgrading the local water and wastewater network to cater for growth in existing areas.

Tangata whenua (Māori)

  • Healthy waters (Te Mauri o Te Wai)
  • Climate change
  • Wastewater discharge consents and projects that require engagement with Mana Whenua such as the Central Interceptor project and South-West Wastewater Servicing Strategy.

Local Boards

  • Information on infrastructure projects ahead of works and updates on progress and delays
  • Timely information on local network issues so there are ‘no surprises’.

Local residents and community groups that neighbour our worksites

  • Opportunities for consultation on projects before work begins
  • Accurate and timely information on projects’ progress
  • Consideration for the social and environmental impacts of our projects, e.g. traffic management and access to property.

Infrastructure providers

  • Coordinated approach to infrastructure projects to minimise disruption to the community 
  • Opportunities to collaborate and deliver infrastructure effectively.

Suppliers and contractors

  • Access to information on planned and upcoming projects
  • Opportunities for innovation and collaboration.


  • Better alignment between departments on strategy and activities
  • Competitive pay.