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Watercare Services Profits to Hit Working Class

CITIZENS AGAINST PRIVATISATION

Media Release, 23/5/07


Watercare Services Profits Aim to Hit Working Class Majority


"It's obvious that the latest Report on Progress in ongoing plans to restructure Auckland regional governance contains just one absolute certainty," Rose Hollins said.


"That is agreement among all eight Councils from Franklin to Rodney, with Government support, to raise Watercare wholesale prices - therefore all water services charges - to fund stormwater."


"Tens of $millions for stormwater granted to Auckland councils each year," she said, "from the stash at Auckland Regional Holdings (ARH) derived from sell-offs of public assets and services (including sale of ex-ARA/Yellow Buses), would be turned into user charges on all water services."


"This would leave capital in what was once called Infrastructure Auckland," Rose Hollins said, "to be focused on subsidising the profits of privatised so-called public transport operators."


"This is a double and triple rort aimed, like the whole regional governance restructuring plan, to massively further shift the burden of funding local body services from big business and the rich onto the struggling working class majority," commented Rose Hollins.


"CAP is calling for abolition of regressive flat and user charges, which already comprise upwards of 80% of rates paid by the majority poor in low-value homes supposedly rated progressively, and of course are also passed on to tenants unable to afford home-ownership," she said.


Rose Hollins said, "Ten years' work in the community against local body machinations, has shown Citizens Against Privatisation that with corporatised user charges, the sky's the limit for price rises - because ordinary people are forced to pay more than our share, while the wealthy pay progressively less."


"Auckland City Council has shown Councils the way to these Watercare proposals, with user charges extraction expected of $24m from Metrowater Ltd this year alone, and rising," Rose Hollins said, "using exactly this rort."


Rose Hollins said, "New spending on stormwater now being discussed by Auckland councils, forecasts urgent increases of $2 billion to $3 billion starting next year. Regional fuel tax - already set, development levies - already curbed, and departure tax - not big revenue: are the sole new funding sources proposed for a One Plan, a Greater Auckland Council and a Regional Sustainable Development Forum."


"Current machinations will further weaken democracy and widen even more the gap between rich and poor. That’s the purpose, and every ordinary person can see it," said Rose Hollins.


ENDS

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