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Ratepayers set for another clobbering

Jo Goodhew MP
National Party Associate Health (Rural) Spokeswoman

25 October 2006

Ratepayers set for another clobbering with water bill

"Rural areas will have to pay millions to comply with Labour’s heavy-handed proposed Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill,” says National Party Associate Health (Rural) spokeswoman Jo Goodhew.

Today's Health Select Committee heard submissions on the bill from Federated Farmers and Local Government New Zealand, as well as water suppliers to greater Wellington and Auckland.

Submitters variously described parts of the bill as naive, unrealistic and unreasonable.

“Local Government New Zealand reported that the Timaru District Council were looking at a possible cost of between $9 million and $30 million, as an example. That’s another wallop for cash-strapped ratepayers already carrying an increased rates burden.”

Mrs Goodhew says there are very real concerns about funding shortfalls in Labour’s planned subsidy scheme, especially in rural and low-income areas.

“Not only are there reports that the proposed $150 million subsidy would probably need to be doubled, but concerns have been expressed at the narrow eligibility criteria and the need for rural and poor communities to put up significant money themselves.”

National believes the bill is fundamentally flawed.

“Why should all ratepayers be forced to carry the cost so farm animals have access to the same standard of drinking water as homeowners?”

Submitters felt that various phrases in the bill are contradictory and carry significant risks of cost to both Local Government and community water schemes.

“This bill is an absolute mess. Labour needs to go back to the drawing board. The last thing ratepayers need is another slapping at the hands of this rudderless Government.”

ENDS

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