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Shock Doctrine and Bullying Being Used to Bring in Water Meters

The Regional Council and the Minister of Local Government have bullied the Mayor, and are bullying the City Council and ultimately the citizens of Wellington into accepting water meters.

The Greater Wellington Regional Council has threatened the Wellington City Council that if the City Council does not propose introducing water meters in its Long-Term Plan, the Regional Council will levy extra water charges on the City Council. The Minister of Local Government has threatened the Mayor that if Wellington City Council does not introduce water meters he will appoint a Commissioner to run the City. The Mayor has given in to blackmail and has stated that she supports the introduction of water meters.

The alleged possibility that Wellingtonians may run out of water this summer is being deliberately confounded with the call for water meters. There have been El Nino events before but never officials advising us that we may run out of water. Even if the Wellington City Council decided to install water meters tomorrow they would not be installed by the end of autumn. Clearly water meters will not ensure that we will still have water this summer (or even future summers).

The confusion of a so-called crisis with a call to install water meters is analogous to the run on the New Zealand dollar in 1984 being used as a reason for the economic reforms of the mid-1980's that led to increasing unemployment and cuts to government services and benefits. This sort of behaviour has been named "The Shock Doctrine" by Canadian activist Naomi Klein and we are being subjected to it again.

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Residents of Wellington should resist the wool being pulled over our eyes and the bullying we and our City Council are being subjected to. The fact of the poor performance of Wellington Water in carrying out the maintenance of pipes needs to be considered in dealing with security of water supply. They fixed 8000 leaks last year. The time when the water loss was less than half of what it is today over 20,000 leaks were fixed per year. Fixing a medium size leak costs $1800. With the amount of money paid to Wellington Water it should be fixing a lot more than 8000 leaks.

The Wellington Residents' Coalition is holding a meeting to discuss water meters and asset sales at 2pm on Sunday 28 January at Newtown Hall, Corner of Daniell and Constable Streets.

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