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Watercare Credit Watch Highlights Local Body Folly

Friday 9th July 1999
Owen Jennings
Media Release -- Governance & Constitution


The folly of local body politicians interfering with management processes, unable to understand the difference between shareholders and customers, governance and service delivery has been born out in Watercare's new dilemma, said ACT Local Body Spokesman Owen Jennings

"The placing of Watercare Services Ltd on credit watch negative by Standard and Poors is just another illustration of interference by local body politicians in a commercial enterprise to the detriment of citizens.

"There is a confusion of roles. The responsibilities of shareholders and customers have been mixed up leading to potentially higher costs and delayed progress in improving essential utility services to Auckland. It is time some local body politicians learnt the difference between the needs of shareholders and citizens so that businesses like Watercare could get on with sound commercial decision making.

"Politics and business do not mix successfully. Auckland citizens are missing out because local body politicians cannot avoid interfering. The change in Watercare's credit ranking ought to be a sharp lesson that 'feel good' politics without commonsense and sound commercial judgement can have a high price," said Owen Jennings.

ENDS

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