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

 

OIA Request On The Effect Of GATS On Water As A HR

OIA Request On The Effect Of GATS On Water As A Human Right, Now Overdue

27 March 2003

Attn Marion Hobbs
Minister for the Environment

According to Brett Longley from the MOE, a reply to my Official Information / Open Letter Request of 26 February 2003, has been drafted, and given to you.

As over 20 working days have elapsed, I look forward to receiving this reply tomorrow.

This matter of how GATS commitments for Environmental Services can expand 'corporate rights' at the expense of incorporating water as a human right within domestic New Zealand law, is extremely important to the public.

Did you, as the Minister representing New Zealand, support the inclusion of water as a human right within the Kyoto Ministerial Declaration?

Under the Official Information Act, I request all information that shows whether or not you supported the inclusion of water as a human right within the Kyoto Ministerial Declaration, and why.

Thank you in anticipation of your prompt reply.

Penny Bright Media Spokesperson Water Pressure Group (Auckland) Ph (09) 846 9825

*************

OPEN LETTER / OFFICIAL INFORMATION REQUEST /SUBMISSION TO NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER HELEN CLARK RE: WATER SERVICES AND GATS

26 February 2003

Dear Prime Minister,

On 26 November 2002, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights passed a 'General Comment' (ie: an interpretation of the United Nations Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) which declared water to be a basic human right.

Press Release from the United Nations, 26 November 2002:

"States parties to the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights have the duty to progressively realize, without discrimination, the right to water. The human right to water entitles everyone to sufficient, affordable, physically accessible, safe and acceptable water for personal and domestic uses, the text notes. While those uses vary between cultures, an adequate amount of safe water is necessary to prevent death from dehydration, to reduce the risk of water-related disease and to provide for consumption, cooking, personal and domestic hygienic requirements. The right to water contains both freedom and entitlements; the freedoms include the right to maintain access to existing water supplies necessary for the right to water; and the right to be free from interference, such as the right to be free from arbitrary disconnections or contamination of water supplies, the text states. The elements of the right to water should be adequate for human dignity, life and health. The adequacy of water should not be interpreted narrowly, by mere reference to volumetric qualities and technologies. Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, and not primarily as an economic commodity. The manner of the realization of the right to water should also be sustainable, ensuring that the right can be realized for present and future generations. Further, the General Comment notes that States parties have a constant and continuing duty, in accordance with the obligation of progressive realization, to move expeditiously and effectively towards the full realization to the right to water. Realization of the right should be feasible and practicable, since all States parties exercise control over a broad range of resources, including water, technology, financial resources and international assistance, as with all other rights in the Covenant. "

*************

However, simultaneously, and in parallel, the water multinationals have been pushing for an extension of their 'corporate rights' to commodify and privatise the world's water by getting changes to GATS (The General Agreement on Trade in Services). The big European-based water multinationals are behind moves by the European Commission to change GATS rules to make it easier to privatise our water.

*************

Can you please, therefore, Prime Minister, provide the following information:

1)Copies of all minutes and briefing papers of ANY form, of ALL meetings, at ALL levels of Government whether they be Cabinet, Ministerial or Departmental that provide evidence that this Labour Government has discussed how it plans to fully incorporate water, as a basic human right, into domestic New Zealand law.

2) Copies of all minutes and briefing papers of ANY form, of ALL meetings, at ALL levels of Government whether they be Cabinet, Ministerial or Departmental that provide evidence that this Labour Government has discussed how opening up water and other environmental services to privatisation via GATS (through Public- Private-Partnerships, otherwise known as 'franchising' or 'contracting out') will impact on the full incorporation of water, as a basic human right into domestic New Zealand law.

3)Copies of all minutes and briefing papers of ANY form, of ALL meetings and all information from the European Commission, which call for the New Zealand Government to open up environmental services, including water, for privatisation by European-based water multinationals.

4) Copies of all minutes and briefing papers of ANY form, of ALL meetings and all information from any European-based water multinationals, including tender documents, particularly from United Water, the consortium which already operates and manages Papakura District Council's (and Ruapehu District Council's) water services for private profit under a Public-Private-Partnership.

5) Please provide copies of the advice from Crown Law, which provided the information to enable the Local Government Act 2002 to move 'expeditiously and effectively towards the full realization to the right to water'.

*************

There has been no meaningful, widespread public discussion or debate in New Zealand on GATS negotiations, and what the implications are for the operation, management and control of the most essential of our public services - water.

The Water Pressure Group (Auckland) calls on the New Zealand Government to stop forthwith the implementation of this second wave of 'Rogernomics' by stopping forthwith GATS negotiations.

No more 'railroading' at 30,000 feet! No more secret privatisation deals! We had enough of that under the 1984 -87 Labour Government.

Please advise the European Commission that the New Zealand Government cannot meet their 'March 31 deadline,' because the New Zealand public have not yet had widespread and meaningful discussion or debate of the critical issues involved.

GATS negotiations are NOT in the national interest - they are in the interest of big business based in New Zealand ie: meat and dairy companies who want European agricultural subsidies dropped so they can get more access for their agricultural goods into European countries.

When did the NZ public ever debate and agree that our water services should be privatised in return for more lamb and dairy sales in Europe?

The will of the people shall represent the basis of the authority of Government! Not the 'will of big business'! Where is the proof that what is good for big business is good for the majority of us?

WHERE'S THE DEBATE????

We are sick of 'weasel words,' and sick of treachery from 'centre- left' politicians.

We know one thing that you politicians do understand - VOTES!

The Water Pressure Group (Auckland) has a proven track record of campaigning against politicians who sellout on water commercialisation and privatisation.

BEWARE!

To back up our demand for the New Zealand Labour Government to fully incorporate into domestic law, water services as a basic human right - the Water Pressure Group (Auckland) calls on all households in Auckland City to join the water bill boycott!

Water services are a basic human right and water services should be affordable!

Under Metrowater, Auckland City's commercialised, profit-making water company with its user-charges for water and wastewater services - many families are being financially crippled, as the Labour Government knows full well.

The Water Pressure Group (Auckland) intends to crank up the boycott. Having thousands of households refusing to pay their water bills also makes the privatisation of Auckland's water services a lot less attractive for the European-based water multinationals.

Direct action is something that you politicians cannot ignore. Under international human rights law, water is a basic human right- and supplies cannot be arbitrarily disconnected.

Our Water Pressure Group 'Turn On Squad' is firmly on the side of the people and international human rights law.

Whose interests are you and your Labour Government serving, Prime Minister Helen Clark?

Human rights or corporate rights?

The people or big business?

Penny Bright Media Spokesperson Water Pressure Group (Auckland) Ph (09) 846 9825


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ellen Rykers on The Dig: Community Conservation – The Solution To The Biodiversity Crisis?

There are backyard trapping networks doing their bit for Predator Free 2050, farmers planting native trees along their waterways, and iwi protecting whenua rāhui. There are 62 biodiversity sanctuaries across 56,000 hectares, with around two-thirds of them community-led. There are citizen scientists counting birds in their backyards and landowners conserving habitat in 3,500 Queen Elizabeth II National Trust covenants.

It’s increasingly clear that a government agency alone cannot combat the biodiversity crisis successfully. These grass-roots initiatives are a growing resource in the conservation toolbox. More>>

Closing This Weekend! Have Your Say On The Issues For NZ's New Biodiversity Strategy

Scoop and PEP invite you to help decide how we should protect and restore our biodiversity over the next 50 years using Scoop’s online engagement platform, HiveMind. HAVE YOUR SAY HERE>>

Biodiversity HiveMind Preliminary Progress Report
Open data report summarising preliminary findings of the Biodiversity HiveMind. Read Progress Report Here>>

 

PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>

ALSO:

Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>

ALSO:

Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>

ALSO:

Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>

ALSO:

PM To Japan, New York: Ardern To Meet Trump During UN Trip

“I’m looking forward to discussing a wide range of international and regional issues with President Trump, including our cooperation in the Pacific and the trade relationship between our countries." More>>

PM's Post-Cab: "A Way Forward"

At Monday's post-cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a number of actions in response to the Labour Party's mishandling of sexual assault complaints. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Allegations Of Left Wing Media Bias

“Left wing bias” accusations date back at least to the mid 1990s... The charge of left wing bias was ridiculous then, and is ridiculous now. More>>

Next Wave Of Reforms: Gun Registration And Licensing Changes Announced

“The Bill includes a register to track firearms and new offences and penalties that can be applied extraterritorially for illegal manufacture, trafficking, and for falsifying, removing, or altering markings – which are a new requirement under the Firearms Protocol.” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels