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Forum Clarifies Position on ‘User Pays’ for Water

MEDIA RELEASE – 29 April 2014
Forum Clarifies Position on ‘User Pays’ for Water

Waikato Mayoral Forum chair Allan Sanson is stressing that neither a water services report received by the forum, nor the forum itself, has suggested introducing a consumer “user pays” regime for water.

His comments follow media coverage this morning of an independent report to the forum which suggests Waikato District, Waipa District and Hamilton City could look at forming a publicly owned council controlled organisation (CCO) to drive better value water services and to meet the growth challenges the three councils face.

While page 9 of the report refers to possible “user pays” for any advisory services the CCO provides to other councils, the report itself does not promote charging consumers on a user pays basis for water within the three councils’ areas, Mr Sanson said.

“Nor has the forum endorsed any proposal or report suggesting that consumers be charged on a user pays basis for water,” Mr Sanson said.

“At this stage, the only thing agreed is that the Waikato and Waipa district councils, and Hamilton City, will discuss whether they want to be part of a business case study on the merits or otherwise of a jointly owned CCO between them.

“It is premature to speculate that a study of this kind is somehow a prelude to a consumer user pays system. This is not what the report was about.”

Mr Sanson reiterated that privatisation of water was not allowed under the Local Government Act and was also not on the forum’s agenda.

ENDS

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