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Judith Tizard MP and Prime Minister to be picketed

Release Water Pressure Group

Water Pressure Group members will demonstrate outside a Labour Party meeting where the Prime Minister and Judith Tizard (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister with Auckland Issues), will be reporting to party members on the first ten weeks in parliament.

The meeting is at: The Springs Garden Restaurant, 956 Great North Road, Western Springs. at 8pm Monday February 28.

Since Metrowater's disconnection blitz in January, the Water Pressure Group has been trying to open a dialogue with Judith Tizard, but the group's lobby sub-committee is unhappy with the length of time it is taking to get a meeting with the Minister.

Water Pressure Group media spokespersons Jim Gladwin and Penny Bright said today:

"Judith Tizard (and Helen Clark) are totally missing the point in their plans to widen the responsiblilites of LATEs as a result of Metrowater's heavy handed actions. The problem confronting Auckland city is that commercialised water services are not - and look like never being - acceptable to the majority of citizens. We have seen commercialisation in the state sector, turn to corporatisation - then privatisation. We are determined to stop that happening to water services. We are adamant that the demands of Auckland citizens will not be ignored again this year."

"Judith Tizard refers to water supply as 'an essential service', whereas commercialised water services operated by a limited company like Metrowater saw High Court Justice J Salmon state in his judgment of 17 December 1999 ' . . . there is no doubt in my mind that the supply of water is a commercial activity. Indeed, a LATE is required as is an SOE to operate as a successful business "

"In tinkering with the corporate structure of Metrowater the government is ignoring the demands of Aucklanders to abolish Metrowater and return water services to direct democratic council control (through a Stand Alone Business Unit) - with charges being met through rates, not user charges." Jim Gladwin and Penny Bright continued.

"Alongside the Mayor Christine Fletcher, Judith Tizard (and Helen Clark) seem determined to ensure Metrowater's survival. They are not getting the message that there is no convincing reason or proof that a company can run water services any more efficiently than the council as a normal part of their democratic functions. Prior to Metrowater in 1997, there was never a widespread problem in funding water services - now there is rebellion - surely that tells these politicians something. This issue cannot be solved by window dressing or widening responsibilities. In the short term Metrowater must go - in the wider context parliamentarians should be repealing the unpopular legislation enacted by the last Labour government. It is those laws upon which commercialisation and privatisation of public services and assets are based.

"The Water Pressure Group will be delivering a strong message to the Prime Minister and Judith Tizard on Monday evening. We want them to understand that we are not happy with their performance in this key Auckland issue that will eventually affect all other municipalties throughout New Zealand." Jim Gladwin and Penny Bright concluded.

Jim Gladwin & Penny Bright Media spokespersons

The Water Pressure Group http://www.water-pressure-group.org.nz/ email: jimg@pl.net PO Box 10046 Dominion Road Auckland New Zealand Ph / Fax 0064 09 828 4517 Mobile: 025 2666 552 ______________________________


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