Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Public Watchdogs Barking Up The Wrong Tree ???

Public Watchdogs Barking Up The Wrong Tree ???

Media Release Water Pressure Group

PUBLIC WATCHDOGS BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE ??? (Health Hazards created by Metrowater)

Metrowater Ltd has been issuing media statements blaming the Water Pressure Group for exposing the public to health risk when reconnecting water supplies. Today, we learn from reporters that the Health Department has taken up the same mantra. The Water Pressure Group's turn-on squad now has 25 members with new people being trained daily.

Water Pressure Group media spokespersons Jim Gladwin and Penny Bright said today: "Last year, Metrowater tried to claim that what the group did was highly dangerous because of work practices.. That was proven to be false. Great care is taken by the people in the squad and raod cones and barriers are used where required.. Metrowater claim that our members are "bludgers and stealers". This is hardly the description of people who voluntary give their time and effort to help other ordinary citizens to make their stand to abolish the water company."


"Overseas experience shows that DISCONNECTIONS are the cause of health risk. The state that Metrowater leaves cut-off residents' pipes in has to seen to be believed. Not only do they hacksaw and otherwise wreck fittings in their efforts to frustrate the group's turn-on squads, but also they often leave the site with open ended fittings in mud and stagnant water. We have even seen tiger slugs crawling around the meter box where the meter has been removed."


This week, many large scale reconnections have been performed. This entails a squad of at least four people - over a period of up to four hours - fitting new pipework, cleaning every part thoroughly - then turning the street water main down to enable new valves to be installed into the main. The cost of the fittings is borne by the citizen who has had the water supply disrupted. At no point is there a lack of pressurised water in the main, so there is no chance of any foreign matter entering the reticulation.

"It is hardly in our interests to contaminate our own water supply" said Penny Bright and Jim Gladwin.


"The Water Pressure Group and people in it have approached the City Council, the Ombudsman, the Auditor General, and the Health Department over their concerns regarding water supplies. To date, we have had no positive message from any area, and THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT APPEARS TO SERVING METROWATER INSTEAD OF THE PEOPLE". Jim Gladwin and Penny Bright continued. "It seems that public watchdogs in New Zealand have adapted to accept a new right market environment that is recognised internationally as being badly flawed."

"People are realising that only by standing together throughout the community do we have any chance of achieving justice and the people's wishes - and that is precisely what is happening in the Water Pressure Group."

"People attempt to take Small Claims Court cases - Metrowater prevents them from proceeding. The Mayor and Councillors promise "genuine consultation", ask for public input, then ignore it - politicians break election promises to abolish Metrowater - the watchdogs bark up the wrong tree. We have a Human Rights Commissioner who is also a Director of Metrowater Ltd. She is remaining very silent over the rights of disconnected citizens. The other very silent Director is the gentleman who is also a Director of North Health. Contrast this dismal performance with the British Medical Assoc." (SEE BBC ARTICLE BELOW)

THE POSITION IN THE UK All English and Welsh water services were privatised ten years ago. This was an hugely unpopular move and as the article below shows, about 600 people are disconnected every year.

"Since the Water Pressure Group wastewater bills boycott campaign began last February, there have been close to 600 disconnections already. Not bad, for one smallish city." _______________________ http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/uk/newsid_216000/216568.stm TEXT OF ARTICLE ON BBC WEBSITE 18.11.98 Wednesday, November 18, 1998 Published at 12:16 GMT UK Government to ensure right to water Around 600 people in the UK have their water disconnected every year.

The government is expected to unveil a list of reforms for the water industry on Wednesday - including a possible ban on disconnections. Environment Minister Michael Meacher will outline the government's response to a consultation paper, published in the spring, which looked at the relationship between water companies and customers. He is widely expected to withdraw water companies' right to cut off supplies to non-payers. Immediately after privatisation the number of disconnections increased dramatically but it has since fallen sharply.

'Essential for public hygiene' An outright ban on disconnections would be welcomed by health authorities and GPs, who say depriving families of a resource vital for life is socially wrong and poses a serious health risk. The government is also expected to announce more protection for the low paid over their water bills.

Homeowners will be able to stay unmetered if they wish, or have a water meter on trial for a year. Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Tom Brake has urged the government to spell out its position on water supplies. He said: "Do they support or oppose universal water metering and do they have a timetable for introducing it? "Consumers need to know. If they intend replacing water charges which are mainly based on rateable values, it must be something simple which reflects people's ability to pay." Mr Brake said: "Disconnections have to stop. Denying access to water for some of the country's most vulnerable people is a denial of a basic human right."

The British Medical Association said that the move ended a potential threat to health. Dr Sarah Taylor, chairman of the association's public health committee, said: "Basic hygiene in food preparation in the home to protect from E. Coli and salmonella involves hand-washing and toilet-flushing, and you need adequate supplies of water for that."

However, she said, people on low incomes limit the amount of water they use. "Changing the charging system and making it illegal to disconnect them will remove a threat to their health."

ENDS _______________________

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Malaysia Exposing Our Dodgy Policies On China

Last week, we all owed a vote of thanks to Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad for breaking with protocol during his bilateral meeting in Singapore with New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern. Reportedly, Mahathir used the photo opportunity phase of the meeting – which usually involves just an exchange of smiles and pleasantries before the media is sent out of the room – to launch into matters of genuine substance.

By doing so, Mahathir usefully exposed how New Zealand is trying to make a virtue out of sitting on the fence over the South China Sea dispute. More>>


Climate Change: Top Academics Call On Government To Take Action

One hundred and fifty academics and researchers from around Aotearoa, including Dame Anne Salmond, Emeriti Professors and several Fellows of the Royal Society, have signed a strongly-worded open letter to the Government demanding bold and urgent action to tackle climate change. More>>


Teacher Qualifications, Class Sizes: Ten Year Plan For Early Learning

“Moving towards 100 percent qualified teachers in early childhood education centres and improving adult:child ratios are among some of the key proposals for change put forward by the sector and experts in the new draft ten year strategic plan for early learning,” Chris Hipkins said. More>>


Teacher Strikes: Meeting, March And Rally In Wellington

Throughout the Wellington region the NZEI rolling strikes entered their final day Friday. Thousands of teachers met in Wellington, Kapiti, Porirua and the Wairarapa. More>>


14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>


Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>


Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>


Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>





InfoPages News Channels