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Public Meeting Opposing Manukau Wastewater Charges

PUBLIC MEETING TO OPPOSE WASTEWATER USER CHARGES

Te Puke Otara Recreational Centre - Newbury St - Adjacent to Otara Shopping Centre Carpark

The Water Pressure Group has organised this meeting as a forum for citizens of Manukau City to express their opposition to the planned High Court declaratory judgment the Council is taking - trying to win the right to implement user charges for wastewater.

Group spokespersons Penny Bright and Jim Gladwin said today:

"In the year to 30 June 1999, there were about 2000 disconnections of water supplies to Manukau residents for late or non-payment. That fact would indicate that poverty is rampant in some areas of Manukau."

"Given that people find it difficult to pay for water, how on earth are they going to stretch their budgets to cover wastewater user charges?
While the council claims to be seeking a "fairer" method of charging, that is merely a catchphrase to mask the large reduction in property taxes (rates) the owners of really expensive properties would enjoy. On the other hand, the majority of people on middle, low or fixed incomes would notice little difference in their rates while wastewater charges or rent rises would become a major additional expense to be met. That is the Auckland City experience"

"Public institutions like schools would also be seriously affected, as more of their operational grants would be allocated to cover such wastewater charges." Penny and Jim Gladwin continued.

"The manager of the Manukau City Water Business Unit, Paul Utting has been invited to debate this issue with us on Counties Radio, but has yet to make himself available. The organisers of next Wednesday's meeting will be inviting Manukau's Mayor, and the Water Manager, to attend so that they can hear people's concerns and answer questions."

"If the people of Manukau wanted commercialisation and user charges for water services, they would not have delivered such a strong message to council in 1997. For the council now to be attempting to introduce wastewater user charges in this way, is flying in the face of this overwhelming opposition. Manukau City councillors need only look at Auckland City to see that the kind of undemocratic decisions they are planning are likely to result in widespread organised rejection and civil disobedience by citizens who have already had more than enough hardship imposed by their so-called leaders," they concluded.

Penny Bright & Jim Gladwin - Media spokespersons


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