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A "Leader" Rats On Democracy

In an act of treacherous betrayal, the Reverend Bruce Hucker, Deputy Mayor, at last Thursday night's Auckland City Council meeting, worked behind the scenes with Citizens and Ratepayers, against his own City Vision colleague Maire Leadbeater. An amendment drafted by Doug Astley (team leader of the right wing C & R) and The Huckster scuttled her motion to include the People's Option in the current Auckland Region Water Review 'public consultation process' for consideration by the public and their elected representatives. Doctor Hucker was the only City Vision Councillor to vote for this amendment.

COUNCILLOR MAIRE LEADBEATER RESIGNS FROM CITY VISION Maire Leadbeater has subsequently resigned from City Vision. The Water Pressure Group commends Maire for her staunch, consistent and courageous efforts in trying to keep City Vision to their pre-election promises with regards to Metrowater, commercialisation of water services and user charges. Maire deserves support and we would suggest as a minimum, your sending her a solidarity message at: maire@clear.net.nz

And perhaps include a copy to the Mayor Christine Fletcher: mayor@akcity.govt.nz and her Deputy: b.hucker@auckland.ac.nz

HUCKER PICKETTED Bruce Hucker appears to have become the chief spokesperson and apologist not just for the Waikato pipeline, but now the Auckland Region Water Review and Metrowater. Yesterday evening, Bruce Huckster felt the heat when an angry and determined picket of Water Pressure Group members prevented him from driving his car into the front entrance of Ferndale house, where he was to address a meeting of Labour party members on the Auckland Region Water Review. A dozen people holding placards which said "Bruce Hucker - SELLOUT TRAITOR!" "Bruce Hucker - dog tucker!" surrounded his car, and he was forced to back off and scuttle in via a side entrance.

At the Water Pressure Group meeting held later on that evening - it was decided to send a letter to both the City Vision Steering Committee and the Alliance, stating that if they were going to continue to support Bruce Hucker, we would be advising people not to support them.

When the so-called 'left' works hand in glove with the right, to promote rightwing policies - what's the difference? In 1998 City Vision promised 'Real choice for Auckland' DOUBT IT!!!

City Vision and Alliance - we suggest you expel him or you'll be tarred with the same brush. The Water Pressure Group will be merciless on sellouts, and so will the public. Today's left - tomorrow's right. Bruce Hucker is no longer a progressive voice on Council.

COUNCIL THROWS METROWATER LTD A LIFELINE At an Investment Committee meeting today (Thursday), it was agreed that the Auckland City Council would spend $116,000 to post to every Metrowater customer/ratepayer a direct mail letter and glossy colour brochure in an atempt to rescue Metrowater Ltd.

"The key messages and desired outcomes are:

Profit/Reinvestment - Metrowater is not a profit making organisation. Privatisation/Governance - There are no intentions to privatise Metrowater. Wastewater - It costs more to dispose of wastewater and protect the environment.

The Primary Communications Objectives:

To raise a broad awareness amongst Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers of the positive progress that Metrowater and Watercare have made for the City. To address in a positive light, any mis-information / issues that have been identified to date To support and complement any Marketing/ Communications campaigns that Metrowater and Watercare have been or is planning on doing. To communicate in a way that is honest, clear and accessible to all To provide a balance view of all issues"

And who will be working with council officials to develop this 'communications strategy' to try and 'sanitise' Metrowater, and turn cat poop into a sweet-smelling rose? Mr 'Metrowater' himself - David Hay, working hand in hand with City Vision's own Bruce Hucker and Vern Walsh.

PEOPLE'S OPTION IS REAL VALUE FOR MONEY The People's Option Water Coalition spends $780 and produces 48,000 'People's Option Postcards' (They have almost all gone out, and we hear that Judith Tizard's office is inundated!) The Auckland Region Water Review has already spent $250,000 promoting their commercial models and user charges - now Auckland City Council is going to cough up another $116,000 of our money to sanitise and promote their commercialised model and user-charges. This of course is on top of the lucrative salaries paid to the various city managers and boffins to carry out their Review campaign.

Neither the Ak Region Water Review nor Ak C.C. has spent one red cent on promoting the non-commercialised model for water services that tens of thousands of citizens have shown that they want, and it appears that all Councils in the region are now blocking the inclusion of the People's Option at this stage of the 'consultation' process.

THE SCENE IS BEING SET FOR REGION-WIDE USER CHARGES What is now very clear is that the Auckland Region Water Review wants a 'united front' of Councils within the Auckland region, all pushing for legislative change to allow Stand Alone Business Units to introduce user charges for wastewater services (without setting up a LATE). They hope to use their bogus 'public consultation' which has only put forward three commercialised options for the public to consider to back up this call. The legislative framework is based on the Rating Powers Act and Local Government Act A central government Funding Powers Review coming up in June could bring drastic change. They talk about extending the 'public consultation' period - AFTER they have put this position to central government - which would then be too late - the damage would have already been done. This travesty of democracy keeps growing!!

This has got to strenthen our hand in calling for a Ministerial Inquiry into the Auckland Region Water Review.

So, like the recreational fishers, we are independently pursuing our own "fourth option".

We urgently need another $780 for a reprint of another 48,000 postcards. They are going like hotcakes! (Thank you to those who have already made generous donations.)

Please make out your cheques to The Water Pressure Group (write "for the People's Option") and send to PO Box 19764 Avondale!

PREPARE FOR DIRECT ACTION! Give some thought to the backup direct action that will probably be needed to make them listen. Remember, apart from the Auckland Region, very few municipalities elsewhere in NZ charge for water though meters. Remember, that user pays water has led to user pays wastewater.

An Auckland region-wide water bill boycott???????? LET THE POLITICANS IGNORE THAT!!!!

Please pass on this information to as many people as you can. It's people power time!!!!


Penny Bright Media spokesperson

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