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Water Boycott Is Spreading Out West

CITIZENS AGAINST PRIVATISATION

UNIT 3/14 ROBERTS RD, TE ATATU SOUTH, WAITAKERE CITY.TEL 09 8366 389 FAX 09 838 6727 email: capwaitakere@free.net.nz

PRESS STATEMENT

From: Meredydd Barrar (spokesperson)

WATER RALLY IN WAITAKERE. THURS, AUG 9TH 12.30PM

CATHERINE PLACE, HENDERSON SQUARE, GRT NORTH RD HENDERSON

WATER BOYCOTT IS SPREADING OUT WEST

The public will have the opportunity to sign postcards that contain a pledge not to pay their next water bill and join the growing boycott of user-pay charges for water in West Auckland. These can be sent, freepost, via Helen Clark to Waitakere Council.

A fire engine will be present (borrowed from the Water Pressure Group Auckland City), decked with placards and equipped with loud speakers.

There will be an open microphone.

Speakers will draw attention to the fact that user-pays charges transfer the cost of this essential service on to those who can least afford to pay. An average income family of 5 in Ranui proportionally pays a lot more for water than a wealthy family of 5 in West Harbour.

The public will be alerted to the fact that over 1200 Auckland citizens have signed postcards pledging not to pay their next water bill, hundreds of these from Waitakere. Many Westies have not paid their last water bill and they are eager to join the boycott. C.A.P have already reconnected 6 people who have had their water meters clamped because they have refused to pay their bill. WCC have returned to 3 of these residents’ homes and taken their water meters away, once again leaving them without water. C.A.P’s turn on squads have overcome this problem and got their water flowing again. 20 other residents have received disconnection notices and have informed C.A.P that they will not be paying their bills, thus joining in the boycott.

Speakers will also highlight the following:

Water should be a human right; user-pays make it a privilege for those who can afford to use it. C.A.P will demand that legislation be past making it illegal for councils to disconnect water supplies. Similar to legislation that currently exists in the UK (the water act).

C.A.P recently reconnected a Te Atatu couple with 2 children under 4 years old. When a family is deprived of water it becomes a serious health issue. Do we want diseases like cholera, which are directly related to situations where there is no access to running water breaking out in West Auckland? Another reconnection was an 80-year-old woman in Massey. This is what happens when water is defined as a commercial commodity, not a human right. Central government should take water out of the commerce act.

NB if you wish to speak to boycotters, please contact C.A.P

WCC officials recently pulled down C.A.Ps hordings, which advertised a public meeting and called on residents to boycott their water bills, despite gaining prior agreement from a council official to use public land to erect the hordings. This is a gross act of censorship and a denial of freedom of expression. Is the council attempting to hide the truth about user-pays from the community?

Please contact C.A.P for our intended response and more information on this issue.

Privatisation of water will be discussed.

The official position of Auckland’s Water Review and Waitakere Council as a participant is now claiming that Papakura Council’s franchise with United Water (a French and German water multinational) is not privatisation.

The company leases the pipes from the Council and runs the system for profit, which is returned to their shareholders. In fact water franchising is recognised internationally as the European model of privatisation. It is a rose by any other name! On the one hand Waitakere Council is claiming that they are opposed to water privatisation and on the other they are saying that franchising is not the above. Councillor Janet Clews, as the representative of Waitakere Council on Auckland’s Water Review must be endorsing this lie. Are Waitakere City Councillors whose views Councillor Clews is meant to be representing aware of this? Will WCC use this bogus definition as a means of privatising our water in the future? Over 14000 residents have signed submissions and petitions opposing commercialisation, privatisation and user-pays. These are the reasons why C.A.P are calling for a water charge boycott in Waitakere.

For copies of Grant Taylor’s (Chair of Auckland Water Review) letter outlining their definition of franchising,

For documentary evidence of imperical research regarding franchising being a form of privatisation,

For more background information regarding the call for a Water boycott in Waitakere,

Please phone or email C.A.P


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