We are collaborating with Watercare to run a citizens' assembly over four weekends from late July to early September 2022.

This process builds on the concepts and tools of deliberative democracy, to help us navigate complex conversations and make decisions alongside other Aucklanders about the long-term future of Auckland’s water supply.

public consultation meeting

What is a citizens’ assembly?

A citizens’ assembly is a form of collaborative decision-making focused on bringing a diverse and representative group together, to deliberate and make an informed decision on a complex topic.

The focus is not on finding a perfect solution, but a decision that everyone in the group can ‘live with’, in which the trade-offs are understood and weighed up.

What will the citizens’ assembly discuss?

We’re asking them to help answer: “What should be the next source (or sources) of water for Auckland?”

This means that from July – September:

  • We will bring 36-40 citizens together for four days (Saturdays 6 and 20 August and 10 and 24 September).
  • We will provide information so they can understand the complexity of this issue and the different water source options. This information will include written material as well as presentations from a variety of experts and stakeholders, some of which will be pre-selected and some of which will be chosen by the participants.
  • They will deliberate (a facilitated, reasoned and respectful discussion) over the question to see what consensus emerges.
  • At the end, they will write a report and present it to our leadership team.
  • The leadership will respond and explain how these recommendations will be used to make the new water infrastructure plan.

Our intention is for the participants to work through different perspectives and trade-offs to come to a consensus that helps build a resilient water source past 2040.

 The citizens’ assembly will help to answer the question:
“What should be the next source (or sources) of water for Auckland?”

How will it work?

We will send out 12,000 invitations to a combination of postal addresses (obtained using NZ Post’s database) and email addresses from the Watercare database. These addresses will be chosen using “random sampling”, meaning that each address in the database has the equal chance of being selected.

From those who accept the invitation, we will select a sample that is demographically representative of Auckland in terms of ethnicity, age, gender, and education.
Consequently, even if you receive the invitation and express your interest in participating, we can’t guarantee a place on the assembly.


The selected participants will be contacted by the members of our research team. The research team will answer any questions they might have and provide them with further information on the process and what we hope to achieve.

Those participants who agree to participate will receive the information pack, detailed schedule and location information.

We anticipate that the recruitment will start in mid to late June, for the finalization in early to mid July. Further details about the process will be published here.


What are the other ways I could get involved?

If you are a citizen:

Write to our email address ccl-study@auckland.ac.nz

If you are a business, community group or large stakeholder:

Stakeholder submissions have closed. If you have further suggestions and questions, please write to our email address ccl-study@auckland.ac.nz.


Find out more about deliberative democracy and the
thinking behind the Complex Conversations project

Website links

NewDemocracy Foundation
Access an assortment of valuable resources at

Involve UK
Putting people at the heart of decision-making


Real Democracy Now
A podcast about deliberation, culture and context

A radical proposal for true democracy
Hélène Landemore talks to Ezra Klein

Facilitating Public Deliberations
Podcast from NewDemocracy Foundation


Articles and reports

Catching the deliberative wave
OECD report on deliberative democracy

Film and interactive media

When Citizens Assemble
Documentary film

About Koi Tū

Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures is an independent, transdisciplinary think tank and research centre at the University of Auckland.

We generate knowledge and analysis to address critical long-term national and global issues challenging our future.



Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures
The University of Auckland
Level 7, Building 804, 18 Waterloo Quadrant, Auckland Central 1010
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Twitter: @InformedFutures


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Phone: 027 271 9907