‘Ask us First’ petitioner Jackie Elliott says the Kapiti Coast District Council is under such pressure from anti-water meter opponents that it is spending ‘another fortune in ratepayers’ money’ on brochures and a 1000-person phone survey to try to prove it is right.
She alleges: “But the CRAG (Charging Regime) report guarantees to deliver every nightmare scenario petition supporters were warned about from other regions.
“Few people are being conned because we know the Council has not made a rational case for water meters when it is wasting more water through leaks from it’s own system than all the 23,000 households put together.
“The CRAG report tries to ratify this level of loss and more from the public system as acceptable for the next 30 years.”
Group ‘couldn’t comment on merits of meters‘
Ms Elliott says the Council keeps quoting the CRAG report, but the expert (CRAG) group set up by Council to advise it was never given the opportunity to assess or comment on the merits of water meters as the best option to future proof the district’s water supply needs.
She adds:”It has tried to dismiss a petition by a third of all households in Kapiti for a referendum as being ‘too hard to write the referendum questions.’ Even one of it’s own Councillors says ratepayers are being “duped’ because there is no longer a free basic allocation of water before people start paying.
“The 50 /50 split payment structure is designed to guarantee Council’s net income from the fixed charging even if we use NO water, and the report streamlines KCDC annual planning procedures for charging increases should KCDC require more revenue.
“The 50/50 charging regime chosen will immediately increase costs for single person, low-income, low-usage households, not reduce them as previously widely promoted by the Mayor.
“The CRAG reasoning for this decision is,” Ms Elliott says, “so that pensioners would pay their fair share “.