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Waitakere City's Wastewater Plans Opposed

Water Pressure Group

Waitakere City's Wastewater Plans Opposed

The Auckland City based Water Pressure Group is very concerned at the Waitakere City Council seeking to introduce user charges for wastewater without going to the extent of establishing a LATE. While this is not allowed for under the Rating Powers Act, in December 1997, Councillor Carolynne Stone called for the Act to be changed. Now the council looks like backing Manukau City in their High Court bid to have user charges permitted under the present Rating Powers Act.

Water Pressure Group spokespersons Penny Bright and Jim Gladwin said today.

"This attempt to implement user charges for wastewater goes against the strenuous opposition of Waitakere citizens throughout 1997, when a massive response knocked back any council designs to establish a LATE. By seeking this ruling, the council shows it is hell-bent on pursuing a new right agenda. The council seem determined to frustrate public demands and only massive resistance by the people will prevent this from happening."

"User pays is the biggest con-job yet that free marketeers use to mislead ordinary people." they continued. "By implementing user charges, there is a large tax break (rates reduction) for the most affluent property owners while middle and low income earners are hit extremely hard.

That has become the experience in Auckland under the user charges introduced by Metrowater, and a typical household of 4 to 5 people can now find themselves paying as much for water services as they do for rates."

"In terms of social equity, this is a leap backward. Commercialisation and user charges put the burden on to those who NEED to use more water but can least afford it, such as large, low income families. That is the whole purpose of the so-called reform - to lower rates for the well-off, at the expense of the poorer majority. It is a travesty to describe this scheme as FAIRER."

"If Waitakere has the health and well-being of children at heart, the council would not put families in the position where they can't afford to use the most essential public services. If they want to see the spread of sickness and disease, they will pursue these anti-social measures."

"The Water Pressure Group is prepared to give as much help as possible to stimulate opposition to this terrible state of affairs, and plan to hold a public meeting in the near future. Mayor Bob Harvey's announcement is pre-emptive in relation to the recently announced region-wide "review" of water services from Franklin to Rodney Counties.

"The United franchise at Papakura, Metrowater and now this Waitakere/Manukau move should sound alarm bells for all in the various communities. By forming local groups and getting together we can defeat this 'market madness' throughout the region, and put essential public services back under direct democratic ownership and control."

Penny Bright Jim Gladwin
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