The Government has opened the way for greater control of the water supply by private companies.
Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has revealed a range of planned measures to extend the maximum operational contract period for companies, from 15 years to 35.
Mr Hide also wants to make it easier for private companies to build infrastructure, and wants to allow them to have more control over water management.
Green Party MP Sue Kedgely says the Government is angling for greater privatisation of water and New Zealanders should be wary.
But Mr Hide says the changes do not affect asset ownership and councils would retain control over pricing and policy.
The Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association says the Greens are scaremongering.
Its chief executive Alasdair Thompson says the private sector could help with the huge infrastructure upgrades needed.