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European Water Multinationals Are Already In NZ!

22 April 2002:

European Water Multinationals Are Already In NZ! The EC Water Privatisation 'Wishlist' Is No Laughing Matter!

"The European Commission 'wishlist' of public services they want opened up for their multinationals to get access to, as the price for removing their agricultural subsidies - is no laughing matter," said Water Pressure Group Media Spokesperson Penny Bright.

"Two huge European-based water multinational water companies already have a foothold in the Auckland region. Their names? Vivendi (French) and RWE (German). Together they make up the private consortium United Water which has a 30 year concession or 'lease' with the Papakura District Council to operate, manage and make private profit from community-owned water services

Under what is known as the "French model' - (because three of the four biggest water multinationals in the world are French), water multinationals suck the income stream from publicly-owned pipes without spending millions of dollars actually buying the infrastructure.

Why would water corporations buy the pipes when they can lease them for far less cost under such a public-private-partnership? (The only place in the world where the water companies own the infrastructure is in the UK.) The big question is - where is the money going????

The EC water privatisation 'wishlist' has already begun in New Zealand.

It is not being helped by politicians trying to fudge the definition of privatisation and hoodwink the public, by pretending that public-private- partnerships aren't really a form of privatisation because the water infrastructure or assets are still publicly-owned.

It was over this definition of water privatisation that the Water Pressure Group challenged the Auckland City Council elections. The Judge accepted Angus Ogilvie's definition that the 'Papakura model' wasn't privatisation because the asset base was publicly owned.

Minister for Local Government Sandra Lee, has a similar position - claiming that her Local Government Bill prohibits privatisation while still allowing 'contracting out' - which is the main form of water privatisation.

Click! Could this be why no Government MP apart from Laila Harre has defined the Papakura 'contract' as a form of privatisation, because the Government doesn't want to upset the EC's efforts to promote their water multinationals when they're trying to get better access for NZ sheepmeat into Europe?????

The Minister for Trade and Foreign Affairs Jim Sutton needs to come clean! Does he accept that European water multinationals are already in NZ and that the Papakura District Council 'contract' with United Water is the model that these companies use to privatise water internationally? Yes or no???

Was he, as Minister aware of these EC proposals? What other Labour/Alliance Government MPs knew about these EC proposals? Have these proposals ever been discussed by Government? Cabinet? Parliament? Were they ever going to be? When were the public going to be notified about these proposals? After the Government had signed GATS commitments ?

How many people know that commitments to GATS 'trump' central and local government law? It is high time that discussion on GATS and 'Free Trade' came down from 30,000 feet and ordinary people are made aware that free trade (or 'trade liberalisation' ) = privatisation!

The EC 'wishlist' makes that perfectly clear!"


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