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Clear thinking on water policy wanted

Clear thinking on water policy wanted

Contrary to claims by Green MP Sue Kedgely, giving the private sector the opportunity to supply good drinking water does not represent the 'theft of public assets,' nor is the idea alarming or dangerous, says Alasdair Thompson, chief executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"People should not be hoodwinked by silly claims," Mr Thompson said.

"We need to remain open to all options that can supply the quality of infrastructure we need.

"Where we need controls is over monopoly profits, and that's the case irrespective of whether an enterprise is publicly or privately owned.

"People need to insist any water supply monopoly, whether publicly or privately owned, is not allowed to abuse its monopoly position.

"Furthermore running an enterprise to make a profit is not an assault on human rights as Auckland water campaigner Penny Bright claims.

"All enterprises including for water supply, need to be run to make a profit in order to pay for their future cost of capital investment.

"Capital for investment is scarce and we can't hope to build the high quality infrastructure we all want if its to be funded only by taxpayers and ratepayers.

"Private investment is desirable to ensure high quality provision of water supply, to manage waste water and storm water, transport, and waste just as it for supplying information and communication technology.

"ACT leader Rodney Hide's plan provides greater flexibility and opportunity to fund the delivery of clean potable (drinking) water, which the public sector has failed to do in many areas of New Zealand.

"The Minister was careful to say that councils would retain the final say on pricing and policy.

"Many councils will welcome the opportunity to form partnerships with private enterprises to address their sub standard and inadequate water systems."

ENDS

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