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Minister Favours Codes for Water Industry

Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle today urged water and waste industries to consider establishing a Code of Practice and standards for water meters.

Speaking to a forum on water in Wellington today, the Minister said she wanted to see the water and waste industry to be part an Ombudsman scheme that covered utilities such as water, waste, gas, electricity and telecommunications.

"Before we can embark on an Ombudsman scheme . . . it's important to set in place foundations that would ensure the scheme would be effective. This includes a Code of Practice for the water industry and I see great consumer benefits in establishing standards or a code for water meters."

Ms Bunkle said the issues facing consumers of water and waste services were probably similar to concerns in the electricity, gas, water and telecommunications industries.

She suggested that a Utilities Ombudsman scheme needed careful consideration.

"I think it's time to think seriously about it being a 'next generation' scheme."

The Minister said this meant considering a scheme that ensured consumers were represented when determining the terms of reference for an Ombudsman scheme, better promotion of such schemes, and compulsory membership.

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