WPG sends questionnaire to political parties
Press Release From Water Pressure Group 20 June 2002
Water Pressure Group sends questionnaire to political parties on water services - Waikato water, PPPs and GATS key questions!
WATER PRESSURE GROUP SURVEY OF POLITICAL PARTIES ON THE PROVISION OF WATER / WASTEWATER SERVICES AND RELATED ISSUES FOR THE 2002 GENERAL ELECTION:
Does your Party agree that water should be treated as a
saleable commodity to be sold as an economic good and
traded for commercial purposes and thus stay under the
2. Does your Party
agree that water is a commons – a fundamental human
right, essential to life, to which every person is
entitled, and thus should be taken out from under the
3. Does your Party
agree that water services are essential public services
and should be owned, operated and managed by Councils,
under the direct democratic control of elected Council
representatives, and run on a non-profit making basis?
4. Does your Party agree that water
services should be operated and managed as profit-making
businesses while under Council ownership ie:
commercialised – whether the name of such a Council
owned entity be a Local Authority Trading Enterprise
(LATE), a ‘Council-controlled business’ or any other such
name given to cover such a commercialised entity?
5. Does your Party agree that water
services should be operated and managed under a
public-private-partnership, where Councils still own the
water services infrastructural assets, but the operation
and management is in the hands of a privately-owned
‘for-profit’ water company?
your Party agree that the franchise agreement between the
Papakura District Council (PDC) and United Water is such a
public- private-partnership where the PDC still owns the
water services infrastructural assets but their
management and operation is in the hands of a consortium
of two of the largest water multinational companies in
the world – Vivendi and RWE?
7. Does your Party agree that public-private-partnerships
are also known as ‘franchising’, ‘concessions’ and
8. Does your
Party agree that public-private-partnerships are a form
9. Does your Party
agree that water services should be owned, operated and
managed by the private sector?
your Party agree NOT to support any changes at central
government level which would give local bodies greater
power or ability to commercialise, privatise in any form
including PPPs (contracting out), of essential public
services such as water?
your Party agree to initiate and/or support any changes
at Central Government level which would reverse any
existing commercialisation, privatisation (including
contracting out) of essential services such as water /
12. Does your Party
agree to initiate and/or support the removal of water
services from LATE legislation?
13. Does your Party agree to initiate and/or support
public- public-partnerships,such as, where central
government gives financial assistance such as low
interest loans to local government for water services
14. Does your
Party agree that user charges for essential services puts
the burden on those least able to pay?
15. Does your Party agree with the principle that those
who own higher-value properties should contribute
proportionally more towards infrastructure costs through
general property taxes (rates)?
Does your Party agree NOT to support any legislative
changes at central government level that would give
Councils greater power to charge for water services on a
fixed (Uniform Annual Charge or Uniform Annual General
Charge) user pays or any other method of funding which
moves away from property- based rates?
17. Does your Party agree with the principle that
commercialisation of water services works against the
conservation of water because if water services are set
up to profit from selling water as a commodity then the
last thing commercialised or privatised water companies
want is for people to use less?
18. Does your Party agree with and have policies -
other than punitive user charges which make water
unaffordable to people who NEED to use more – to
encourage water conservation to avoid massive future
infrastructural costs? Please detail these
19. Does your Party agree
that public accountability and democratic traditions are
diminished when when public assets are commercialised or
20. Does your party agree to
initiate and/or support legislative change that will make
it illegal to restrict or disconnect for non- payment of
water services bills as in the UK Water Industry Act
21. Specific questions relating to the Waikato pipeline:
a) Does your Party support the
precautionary principle that the future risk to public
health is minimised by using ‘best raw water first’ for
drinking water supplies?
Does your Party acknowledge that for Watercare to say that
treated Waikato river water will be safe to drink, means
that it will comply with or better New Zealand Drinking
Water Standards, and thus does not minimise the risk to
public health, because NZDWS 2000 only measure 137 of the
thousands of bugs and chemicals that flow into the
Waikato river from factory effluent, leaching landfills,
agricultural chemicals, road pollutant runoff and sewerage
c) Does your Party agree
that the short and long term health risks to people of
the Auckland region from drinking Waikato river water as
a raw source of drinking water should be assessed, managed
d) Does your Party agree
that evidence of such public health risk assessment,
management and minimisation should be available from the
drinking water suppliers; ‘wholesalers’Watercare services;
‘retailers’ the Line Network Operators; Local Authorities,
and Medical Officers for Health in the Auckland region
who have statutory duties for public health?
e) Does your party agree that decisions that have major
implications for public health (namely the signing of the
Watercare bulk water supply contract )should be made by a
LATE (namely Metrowater Ltd) that apparently has no
statutory duties for public health?
f) Will your Party initiate and/or support action to
ensure that the future risk to public health is
minimised by use of ‘best raw water first’ for drinking
water supplies? If YES – what are you prepared to
g) Will your party support the
Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Bill , that intends to
make it mandatory for drinking water suppliers to produce
Public Health Risk Management Plans, (to prevent
contaminants entering the ‘raw’ water supplies in the first
place) being given the most urgent priority in the
completion of its drafting, introduction and
22. Specific questions relating to The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS):
In 1994 the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was adopted as part of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, which also created the the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to enforce such agreements.
New Zealand is one of the 144 countries in the WTO, and every country in the WTO will be subject to the GATS once/if it is adopted. “Liberalisation” has the aim of opening services to market forces, under the WTO.
Economic sanctions and other remedies would be available to the WTO, and corporations, if, for example governments (central or local) discriminated in favour of their domestic service suppliers to the detriment of foreign suppliers of those services.
a) Does your Party agree that “liberalisation”
as expressed above, is in fact
b) Does your Party agree
that public services such as water services should be
“liberalised” ie: opened up to takeover by multinational
c) Does your party
agree that it will NOT sign any GATS commitments for
your party acknowledge that if the supply of water is
entrenched as a commercial activity under the Commerce Act
that makes it easier for water services to be privatised
under the GATS?
e) Does your
Party agree that municipalities (local authorities)
should be bound by international legal agreements entered
into by the New Zealand Government that are not enacted
as domestic law in New Zealand?
Is your Party prepared to initiate and/or support
legislation that will make it illegal for politicians
(both at central and local government level) to knowingly
misrepresent their policies to the public at any time
during an election campaign?
Does your Party agree that those responsible for conducting
elections at both central and local government level should
have to be knowledgeable of the law and the duties that
it is their statutory responsibility to enact?
The Water Pressure Group will publicise the results of this questionnaire as a guide to the voting public. Your reply will be taken as representing the policy of your Party.
Please feel free to add comments or further notes of explanation to supplement your “YES” or “NO” answer.
The Water Pressure Group is holding a public meeting for political parties to explain and be questioned on your policies for water services on Wednesday 3 July 2002 7.30 pm at the Fickling Centre 3 Kings.
If your party wishes to be represented at this meeting we need your answers to this questionnaire by 6.00pm Tuesday 25 June 2002.
Please send to: The Water Pressure Group, PO Box 19764 Avondale Auckland. Thank you.
On behalf of the Water Pressure Group (Auckland) Penny Bright Media Spokesperson.