Three Waters contractor and consultant costs swell

The amount being spent on contractors and consultants on the controversial Three Waters infrastructure programme is now sitting at more than $26 million.

The Government is using a small army of contractors and consultants to give it recommendations on array of issues relating to the Three Waters reforms including legal, commercial, tax, public relations and media advice as well as carrying out consultation.

The ACT Party's furious at the cost saying the "wildly unpopular" Three Waters programme has turned into a "consultants' banquet".

"Councils and ratepayers are rejecting Three Waters because central government is barging in and taking control of their assets but Labour is bulldozing through all opposition," ACT's local government spokesperson Simon Court said in a statement.

"Instead of listening to the people and backing down, Labour is shovelling more and more taxpayer cash onto the trash fire that is Three Waters."

Contractor and consultant costs are increasing at more than $1 million a month. At the end of February the amount spent on Three Waters contractors and consultants was $21 million, at the end of May it was $26 million.

The Government says the amount being spent on consultants and contractors needs to be kept in perspective of the overall Three Waters programme, and that it is a very small proportion of the total investment in the country's water networks.

A spokesperson for Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta said the Government has already invested more than $500 million to help councils "put new pipes in the ground and improve other elements of three waters infrastructure".

"Our three waters system is in crisis, central and local government can’t afford to keep delaying the investments needed by our communities."

The Government estimates up to $180 billion may need to be spent over the next 30 years upgrading the country's drinking water, waste and stormwater infrastructure.