Demand Option 4 - People's Option - be Included
A meeting took place at 4pm Tuesday between representatives of 'The People's Option Water Coalition' (Jim Gladwin and Penny Bright from the Auckland Water Pressure Group, and Mereddyd Barrar from Citizens Against Privatisation) and public servants, Grant Taylor (Chair of The Auckland Region Water Review Steering Group), Theresa Stratton (member of the Auckland Region Water Review Steering Group) and John McCardle (from Manukau City Council).
Councillor Maire Leadbeater from Auckland City Council also attended and participated positively.
We told the first three mentioned public servants in no uncertain terms that we expected our fourth option the People's Option to be included in all their publicity, otherwise their call for the public to have their say was an utter farce and a sham. We told them that we wanted our People's Option to have equal coverage in the Herald advertisements going out Wednesday 21 February (there was adequate time to do this) and in local newspapers later in the week - plus in their glossy brochures, etc.. Another request was for them to 'pull' the ad, and defer their launch as a gesture of goodwill, while discussion takes place with the various Council representatives throughout the region over the inclusion of the People's Option.
Grant Taylor intimated that discussions would take place within councils to consider our request for inclusion, and he also received our request for funding to promote our alternative to the Review Team's three commercially oriented "options".so that democracy may be served. However, he stated categorically that the ad would be going ahead on Wednesday 21 February.
We told him that if that is the case 'it is war'.
We assured him that the coalition groups will do everything we can to undermine their process, because it is a sham. There is no option that the tens of thousands of citizens within the Auckland Region who have already shown their opposition to user-charging, and commercialised and privatised models for water services, can support.
A conflict has now begun throughout the region.
The Auckland Region Water Review had their media launch at QE2 square yesterday morning. Three fountains spouted GREEN water. GREEN! How appropriate! Green is the colour of money, and that is exactly what their three options represent - water, not as a vital necessity for life which should be run in the community's interest as an essential public service - but as a money-making commodity, with user charges hitting ordinary working people, and funding rates reductions that subsidise the wealthy.
We didn't find out about it until the launch was over, but at about noon People's Option supporters attached our sign, "Include Option 4 The People's Option!" to the bottom of the Review banner which is strung out above the bubbling emerald water. A couple of Auckland Region Water Review underlings watched nervously, then asked us to take our sign down. We didn't. The Police were called, and they made the same request. We told them had we intended to remove the sign, then we wouldn't have put it up. The Police removed the sign, but not before a Herald photographer captured it on film. (Hopefully this will get coverage in today's Herald. as balance to the Review's costly advertising and media spin).
Check out the Auckland Region Water Review hoardings in Pitt Street and Hobson Street. The ridiculous GREEN water spewing out of their taps, now sports huge black $ signs. Our demand, "Include Option 4 The People's Option!" (looking very vivid in black on yellow) has been diagonally attached, in a very eye-catching manner.
So, members and supporters - we need YOUR help!!
THIS REVIEW AFFECTS ALL CITIZENS WITHIN THE AUCKLAND REGION IMMEDIATELY, AND PAVES THE WAY FOR THE REST OF THE COUNTRY!!
1) Where are the rest of their hoardings? Please email the street/ suburb details to us, so that we can indeed 'have our say'.
2) When you get today's Herald (Wednesday 21 February) - cut out their advertisment, which is supposedly encouraging you to 'have your say'. Write across it in big bold letters - "Include Option 4 the People's Option!!!" Mail it freepost to their given address, and please email us to give us an indication of the number of people reading this message and responding to this call.
3) Want to know more about Option 4 the People's Option? It will be on the Water Pressure Group and Citizen's Against Privatisation websites very soon. (It's six pages long and formatted in the same way as their options. The content, of course, is diametrically different!)
4) Want an email version? Reply now and ask for one.
5) The concise version, the 'People's Option Postcard' will be available from Wednesday 21 February. We need thousands of these signed and mailed, post free, to Judith Tizard, so she can pass them on to the Auckland Region Water Review. Please get them around your workplaces, neighbourhoods, shopping centres, families, etc! Please help - email us for copies!
6) They have $250,000 of public money for this phoney consultation exercise - the groups comprising the People's Option Water Coalition are broke. . Please, help us get the message out. We are DESPERATE for money to print these postcards. Make out your cheque today to the Water Pressure Group and send to PO Box 19764 Avondale. Write on the back - 'People's Option Campaign'.
7) Remember the direct action! Metrowater customers! Back up your signatures by boycotting your wastewater bills! ESPECIALLY OVER FEBRUARY/ MARCH WHILE THIS REVIEW IS ON! If your protest has been to streetttcchhhh out your payments, stretch them out over at least February /March. The sky won't fall in. The worst they will do is restrict, and they're supersensitive about any bad publicity at the moment. If they restrict you - big deal - just ring the Water Pressure Group and you will be assisted. We won't let anyone go without water - you know that, so join the boycott! Thousands of us hitting them in the pocket CANNOT be ignored.
REMINDER - cut out that Herald ad and send it back, demanding they include the People's Option!
Talk to everyone you know about the People's Option, and let's get that grapevine going! Build that water pressure!
Penny and Jim for
The Water Pressure Group
http://www.water-pressure-group.org.nz/ email: Water