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Citizens Astounded At Govt Greenwash

Press Release: Takutai Moana Poneke Collective

Friday 25 August 2006.

Citizens Astounded At Govt Greenwash

Wellington citizens concerned with New Zealand’s freshwater are astounded by the Government’s new "Water Awareness Campaign" launched earlier today by Environment Minister, David Benson-Pope. The campaign fails to mention that the ownership of water is not clear, nor does it mention Government plans to privatise water.

“Wanting to protect water quality and use is a laudable goal, but given that Maori are likely to still have water ownership rights, for the government to refer to water's "4 million owners" creates the kind of dangerous confusion that characterised the foreshore and seabed debate", said Takutai Moana Poneke Spokesperson Dr Maria Bargh.

"The government does not own water and the matter has not yet been resolved. Until it is, telling the public they own water is irresponsible, misleading and tantamount to condoning theft."

"While the government has made repeated attempts to deny plans to privatise water, their proposals to hand over crucial management powers to large international corporations is exactly that - privatisation. How can we let control over such a vital asset pass out of our hands?"

"We urge everyone to get themselves informed of the issues at stake here.

Forms of privatisation include user-charges, where the government sells off water and charges us to buy it back. Don't be fooled by the laudable veneer of water quality and conservation, there's definitely more to this issue than the government would have us believe", concluded Dr Bargh.

Takutai Moana Poneke Collective will be hosting a Public Forum on water, Wednesday 20 September (venue to be confirmed).


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