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Waikato Water Is An Auckland Election Issue!

13 JUNE 2002 Water Pressure Group, Citizens Against Privatisation:

PROTEST AGAINST DRINKING WAIKATO RIVER WATER!
If YOU don't want to drink Waikato river water - be outside Helen Clark's electoral office Saturday June 15 10.30am - 12.30pm

This is now an Auckland election issue! Who is Prime Minister and MP for Mt Albert Helen Clark going to put first? The public health of the people of Auckland,? Or the Local Authority Trading Enterprise (LATE) 'water wholesaler' Watercare Services commercial objective of making a return on their $165 million pipeline as soon as possible??

Does Prime Minister Helen Clark and the Labour Party support 'best raw water first'? Yes or No? Within the Mt Albert electorate, Avondale and Mt Albert will not be getting Waikato water, yet other suburbs will be. Good enough for some - good enough for all. Who wants to pay for 'dodgy' water??? Mt Albert constituents want to know.

Does the Prime Minister realise that Watercare's 'spin' that treated Waikato water will be safe to drink because it will comply with, or better New Zealand Drinking Water Standards 2000 (NZDWS 2000), does not minimise the risk to public health because NZDWS 2000 only measure 137 of the thousands of chemicals and bugs that end up in the Waikato river? (By comparison 'raw' water from the Waitakere and Hunua catchments is far less contaminated.)

If the Waikato Medical Officer for Health has warned that the Waikato river should not even be walked next to, because it is so polluted, then on what basis is the Auckland Medical Officer for Health going to say that treated Waikato water will be safe to drink?

Where is the evidence that the short and longterm health risks to the public of Auckland from using Waikato river water as a 'raw' source of drinking water have been assessed, managed and minimised?

Despite Official Information requests for this information from:

The Director-General of Health The CEO of Watercare Services The CEO of Metrowater Ltd The CEO of Auckland City Council

- no such evidence has been forthcoming.

One would have thought this information would have been readily 'on tap' as it were, if these bodies had a genuine concern for public health.

The risk to public health is minimised by taking 'raw' drinking water from the least contaminated source. It's the middle of winter - where's the drought??

When Waikato river water is not needed and not wanted - why are Watercare Services effectively trying to force it down our throats? Simple. As a Local Authority Trading Enterprise - their primary objective is commercial - to get a return on their $165 million pipeline ASAP.

What is of major concern is that it appears that LATEs have no statutory duties for public health under the Health Act 1956, and apparently none under Local Government legislation.

In Auckland City, we have the situation where the water retailer LATE - Metrowater Ltd, is going to sign the bulk water contract with the water wholesaler LATE - Watercare, and the elected representatives on Auckland City Council are apparently not going to have any say in this whatsoever! This is a totally outrageous situation where a contract with major public health implications is apparently going to be signed by two LATEs which have no statutory duties for public health!!!!

Despite official information requests being sent to: The Director-General of Health The CEO of Watercare Services The CEO of Metrowater Ltd The CEO of Auckland City Council

all asking the following questions

"Please advise what statutory duties for public health do Local Authority Trading Enterprises have under the Health Act 1956?

a) Watercare Services as the LATE water supply 'wholesaler' for the Auckland region. b)Metrowater Ltd as the LATE water supply 'retailer' for Auckland City Council.

10) Can a Local Authority, namely the Auckland City Council, effectively 'delegate' its statutory duties under the Health Act 1956 to a LATE, namely Metrowater Ltd?"

no replies have been forthcoming.

Where does the Prime Minister stand on this issue? Apparently a Local Authority cannot delegate its stautory duties for public health under the Health Act 1956 - so why are they? (They being the Auckland City Council.)

All this does is confirm the strongly held beliefs of the Water Pressure Group, Citizens Against Privatisation and other concerned groups and individuals, that water services must be taken out of LATE legislation forthwith.

The commercial model is NOT appropriate for essential public services such as water - end of story. Water services must be taken out from the Commerce Act. Water should not be a 'saleable commodity' and its supply a 'commercial activity'.

Public health must come before money. The 'triple bottom line' responsibilities that LATEs were supposed to now have are thus proven to be token, meaningless window- dressing.

Metrowater Ltd has a previous track record of cutting off water supplies to cancer sufferers, and hundreds of families - all who need water as a basic human right and vital necessity. Their user-charging regime has made the cost of water services unaffordable to many families who need to use more water. What are the public health implications of depriving households of the means of basic cleanliness and sanitation?

If you don't want to drink Waikato water, and support the commonsense position of 'best raw water first' - make a stand! - outside Helen Clark's electoral office this Saturday morning!

Penny Bright Mered Barrar Media Spokesperson Media Spokesperson Water Pressure Group (Auckland) Citizens Against Privatisation Ph (09) 846 9825 (09) 836 6389


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