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Wellington Public forum: Whose Water?

Alliance Party Wellington

Wellington Public forum: Whose Water?

Wednesday 3 May 2006, 7.30pm
Turnbull House (ground floor), Bowen St, Wellington

Speakers:
- Dr Geoff Bertram (senior lecturer in economics at Victoria University) speaking on privatisation.
- Bryan Pepperell (Wellington City Councillor) speaking about what’s going on with water in Wellington.

In response to recent announcements about our water supply, this public forum provides an opportunity to hear and discuss what’s going on with water both nationally and in Wellington. Water is a social and cultural good and quality water must be freely available to all, not viewed as an economic commodity! The arrival of the water trading company, Capacity, in Wellington (set up between the Wellington and Lower Hutt City Councils) –of which Bryan Pepperell will shed some light on - and the potential for the installation of water metres and a more user pays approach to domestic water access is a call to action for all community activists.

Earlier in the year, Environment Minister David Benson-Pope stated on Radio New Zealand that New Zealanders had taken clean water for granted for too long and that, “people who have access now shouldn’t think they are rights in perpetuity.” He went onto say, “I think our community wants an appropriate hierarchy of water use. That’s for cabinet to discuss and the community ultimately with government to decide. And also to make sure that what water is available is used in the best economic way.” Such statements are cause for concern. What does Benson-Pope mean by the “best economic way”?

The provision of services such as water must not be subject to market mechanisms. When regressive pricing tools are used as a mechanism to ration resources then this inevitably fails to take into account the gaping chasm that is New Zealand’s gap between rich and poor, and it will be workers, pensioners, beneficiaries and students who will again continue to pay the heaviest price.

All are welcome to the forum, discussion will follow speakers, followed by tea/coffee.

Organised by the Wellington Branch of the Alliance
Contact: wgtn@alliance.randomstatic.net

The Alliance Party on water:

- Amendment of the Commerce Act 1986 so that water provision can no longer be a commercial activity. Illegal to cut water supply.
- Opposition to the contracting out of water services and public-private partnerships (joint ventures). The return of water services to 100% public ownership and community control through the abolition of corporatised local authority bodies.
- No signing up to international agreements such as GATS that open up services such as provision of water, electricity, transport and telecommunications to ownership and control by multi-nationals.

ENDS

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