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'People's' Option nametag misleading

Belinda Vernon National MP

13 March 2001

'People's' Option nametag misleading

Calls to include a 'People's Option' in the Auckland Water Review consultation process is a misuse of the word 'people's' and blatantly misleading says Auckland National MP Belinda Vernon.

"Terming the option this way plays on the public's belief that if something is branded 'people's' it is automatically in their interests. In this case nothing could be further from the truth.

"The so-called 'People's Option' is a superficial, short-term, short-sighted, narrow approach that will work against people's best interests in the long term and ultimately cost them more.

"The call for a non-commercial model ignores the need for the operators of a water services network, whatever structure it might take, to operate a commercially and environmentally smart operation.

"A water services network is like any structure. It needs on-going maintenance, upgrading and capital works. It needs to be run on a commercial basis where costs are open and transparent, not hidden by cross-subsidies and lack of accountability.

"We are paying today the costs of previous non-commercial operations, for infrastructure and maintenance that should've already been provided for. The last thing we need is an anonymous unaccountable structure where everybody thinks someone else is bearing the costs. The real world doesn't work like that.

"None of the options proposed for consideration includes the bogie of privatization. In fact it's been specifically precluded from being an option.

"This is more about pushing the barrow of the Water Pressure Group than promoting the interests of the public to secure the efficient and reliable provision of water, wastewater and storm water services.


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