Water Privatisation Warning

Mayor tells Parliament Kapiti wants to keep control of water supplies

August 9,2010

Kapiti’s Mayor,Jenny Rowan, has told Parliament the Coast is worried that a new Local Government Act could mean privatisation of the district’s water supplies.

‘He taonga te wai’

“We have a saying in Kapiti “He taonga te wai” – our water is precious,” Kāpiti Coast District Mayor told the Parliamentary Select Committee reviewing the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill.

Clause 31 of the Bill proposes extending the period of time a local government organisation may contract out its water services from 13 to 35 years.

“Water has high strategic value. It is fundamental to our daily lives, and our future. It is not a commodity to be just bought and sold,” Mayor Rowan told the committee.

“The management of our water is not something we want to hand over to a private operator, to control by contract.  Under this clause, we would effectively disenfranchise a whole generation from any direct control over water service quality and outcomes.”

Kapiti’s record on water conservation cited

“My Council has established a credible track record of innovation in this area.

“For example, Plan Change 75 requires new homes to have either a 10,000 litre rainwater tank for toilet flushing and outdoor uses, or an alternate rainwater/greywater combination as part of our districtwide move towards sustainability.  We are the first Council in New Zealand to require this.

“We have also tapped into an extensive underground aquifer to supplement our river water source in times of drought.

“We are now looking at cost effective extensions to this supply.  The process has involved considerable public consultation and empowerment.”

‘Good public support for conservation measures’

“As a result, there is good public support for the position we have reached.  This is a multi-million dollar item,” the Mayor stated.

But, she told the select committee that local government has also seen a huge rise in costs resulting from central government policies which are right across the board of Council operations.

And she gave an extensive list of examples to back the KCDC case.

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