Our stakeholders and materiality

Reporting and materiality

Our frameworks

This year we have used the integrated reporting framework to look at our business model, activities and how we create value. These are displayed on our How we create value page. This is part of a company-wide initiative to embed integrated thinking into our decision-making, processes and activities.

This report has been prepared in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards: Core option. We also use the GRI standards for reporting on sustainability performance to ensure our report aligns with worldwide best practice. The GRI is an internationally-recognised standard which encourages transparent reporting on performance and includes an established set of disclosures and performance indicators. An index of the indicators that we have reported against is included on page 16 of this report.

Reporting scope

This report covers all operations managed by Watercare. The majority of our operations and people are located in Auckland, New Zealand. We also operate two smaller laboratories in Queenstown and Invercargill (three staff members).

As a not-for-profit, self-funded organisation solely responsible for the supply of water and treatment of wastewater for Auckland, traditional reporting criteria such as competitive advantage, sources of differentiation and market positioning are not applicable to Watercare. Throughout this report, we have listed the sources of information used to compile the performance indicators and any significant assumptions or estimates applied. We have reported on three years of data in order to highlight trends and changes in performance, excluding those that were introduced in 2017 or 2018.


Material matters are those that Watercare views as having a potentially significant impact on its business model and those that stakeholders highlight as being important to them.

As part of the integrated reporting project, we commissioned a stakeholder and materiality study in September 2017. We engaged an independent materiality expert who interviewed 15 internal stakeholders, (employees, our leadership team and chair of our board of directors) as well as 18 external stakeholders (this included residential and commercial customers, developers, local and central government, community and environmental groups and mana whenua).

Results of the study are displayed below.

2017 Materiality Radar

Screen Shot 2018 09 18 at 8.33.13 AM

Our methodology

The participants were asked to rank (in a scale of 1 to 5) 23 issues based on importance to them at that time. The green line indicates the importance of these issues to the external stakeholders and the blue line signifies their importance to our internal stakeholders.

The close alignment of the blue and green lines indicate that the perception of material matters is reasonably consistent between our internal and external stakeholders.

Based on the stakeholder and materiality study in September, we updated the list of material issues by reviewing minutes of meetings and media coverage on issues in June 2018. Watercare has taken efforts to ensure all material issues are included in its reporting.

Stakeholder inclusiveness

Watercare is accountable to a wide range of stakeholders, which comprises 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.

Our stakeholders considered the below issues as material in 2017/18


  • Support and give effect to long-term plans and other initiatives
  • Funding and sequencing for long-term infrastructure
  • Adhere to a two-way ‘no surprises’ policy
  • Support group efforts such as co-sourcing and procurement to reduce servicing costs


  • Involvement in the development of statutory and regulatory changes affecting the water industry


  • Climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • Planned upgrades and consenting for infrastructure
  • Water quality in receiving environments


  • Safe and reliable water and wastewater services
  • Responsiveness to issues (leaks, blockages, bursts)
  • Affordability of services
  • Timing, sequencing and location of Watercare-funded infrastructure


  • Understanding Māori values and cultural impact of operations and initiatives
  • Consulting on and supporting matters of mutual interest


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


  • 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


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


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


  • Supportive work culture
  • Competitive pay
  • Digital and organisational transformation


  • Security of supply now and in the future
  • Access to water sources
  • Wastewater overflows caused by network blockages and stormwater ingress
  • Infrastructure to cater for growth

Letter from Environmental Advisory Group

View letter

Letter from Mana Whenua Kaitiaki Forum

View letter