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Peoples Choice surveying all Manukau businesses

Press Release from Peoples Choice
2 September 2006

Peoples Choice surveying all Manukau businesses

Peoples Choice is inviting businesses in Manukau City to comment on the fairness of their waste water charges, in a mail out that commences this week.

Chairman Hamish Stevens said that Peoples Choice had received many responses to its campaign to have the waste water charges reviewed and wants feed back from businesses right across the city. “There is a very strong feeling from small businesses that $950 per year is exorbitant, given the small amount of water they use”

Mr Stevens said that the new charges mean that all businesses using up to 400 cubic metres water per year will be charged $950. This has produced the ridiculous situation that a business that flushes its toilet twice a day pays the same as a business using 400,000 litres of water per year – that’s the equivalent of about 12 home swimming pools ! We all know that the costs of treating these volumes are completely different.

The council will argue that businesses overall produce more waste water and that the pipes and pumps need to be larger. But that is determined by large water users, not small ones. The size of the pipes and pumps to get rid of small business water is smaller than that required for residential properties – yet they are paying three times as much in charges.

Small businesses collectively employ many people in Manukau and we have heard of a number who are now looking to lay staff off or even shut up shop permanently. Some are even looking to disconnect their water supply to avoid these charges.

Mr Stevens said that these excessive charges fly in the face of Council’s stated support for business growth. A thriving small business sector is critical for Manukau City’s economic growth and the Council should be developing policy that assists this sector, not one that attacks them.

Peoples Choice supports either a volumetric charging system or one that differentiates between high and low water users, recognising for example that a shoe shop and a car wash don’t use the same amount of water.

Peoples Choice has opened a website for the campaign at www.peopleschoice.org.nz.

Mr Stevens said that if concern about the increased charges is as strong as he believes, Peoples Choice will be calling a public meeting to allow businesses the opportunity to voice their opposition.

ENDS

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