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Metrowater’s User Pays Stalwart Resigns

The chief executive of Metrowater, the Auckland City Council water company, has resigned.

David Howell, who was the driving force behind the establishment of Metrowater two year’s ago has resigned. Mr Howell will leave at the end of this month to travel overseas.

Metrowater’s Board says Mr Howell has been a huge asset to the company.

Consumers may remember him for the controversial big spend up on public relations and information packages shortly after the company was set up. The controversy caused Auckland City Council to pressure Metrowater to be more prudent with its information spending.

Metrowater has also been criticised for its “hard dealings” with consumers who fall behind in payments. It has a “turn them off” policy and ask questions later.

This week a cancer sufferer had her water turned off after refusing to pay Metrowater’s $160 charge for wastewater. Pat Drabble went public complaining that she needed water to take medication and to wash medical instruments.

Metrowater’s chairperson, Michael Stiassny said it was his decision which ultimately lead to the women’s water being disconnected.

Auckland City deputy mayor, Bruce Hucker met with Stiassny yesterday which resulted in Metrowater agreeing to turn the woman’s water back on.

Chief executive David Howell’s resignation sees him vacate his position before a scheduled High Court case in October which will hear evidence challenging Metrowater’s right to charge for wastewater.

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