Rowan v. Elliott

Mayor Jenny Rowan

Mayor Jenny lashes out at critic as water meter petition total soars

Kapiti’s Mayor, Jenny Rowan, has lashed out at water-meter campaigner Jackie Elliott, saying Ms Elliott has facts wrong and accusing her of spreading ‘misplaced rumours.’

Meanwhile, Ms Elliott says the anti-meter petition has soared past 3,500 in the first month of campaigning.

‘Disastrous experience’ in Nelson


Ms Elliott says experience in Nelson, where meters were installed 12 years ago has proved disastrous to residents.

Ms Elliott says the average cost to each household is today around $700.00 per year.  Cost per litre a day this year has risen from $1.43 to $1.81 — and there is a daily line charge of $1.69.

Among other points, Ms Elliott states:

‘In 1999 (in Nelson) it was announced that water meters would be introduced due to public demand. Which in the words of (resident) Rick Miller,”Surprised the hell out of the public, as no one had asked for them”. A quick, submission and consultation process was held to enable Council to introduce household and business metering, and after 90% of submissions were received against the proposal.

“After the introduction of water meters, Nelson lost one of its biggest employers, the Sealord factory closed off 12 hrs of its 24 hour Fish Processing Operation, and moved it to China. The result, the immediate redundancy of nearly half its 300 shift working, but mostly full time employees. The other fish factory Talleys refused to set up in Nelson, prefering Motueka, where their new plant is run on an artesian bore water supply and processing was reduced.

‘Water conservation  has ceased’

“Water conservation has has ceased in Nelson since the introduction of water meters. In fact, walking around any Nelson City Council information centre recently, you would not find one brochure on water conservation. Under the Nelson City Council, residents are encouraged to use water.

“Leaks: You are not only responsible for leaks on your property, but also leaks in any right-of-way to your property”

Ms Elliott also says KCDC’s current CEO, Pat Dougherty, was formerly Deputy CEO. in Nelson, and was in charge of  bringing in water meters — and ‘Nelson folk know exactly what we are in for.’

Mayor hits out at allegations
But the Kapiti Mayor has taken a strong line against Ms Elliott, particularly over the attack on Mr Dougherty.

Ms Rowan says: “I’m especially concerned , not just about the errors, but also the references to our CEO Pat Dougherty, who is not in a position to defend himself.”

Ms Rowan also says: “First of all, water meters were Council policy for a number of years. It should therefore come as no surprise that the issue is now back in front of us, as the rationale for meters has not changed.

“Significant water users in the district have been on water meters for years, including 782 commercial operators, such as Kapiti Cheese. This is common throughout New Zealand. I’m not sure why Sealord closed some of its operations in Nelson, but to imply that something like that could happen in Kapiti is scaremongering.

“Ms Elliott talks a lot about Nelson. Some of it is misplaced rumour, the rest has little or no relevance to us.

“We have decided in principle to introduce meters following an open and transparent consultation process last year. We made it clear we would set up an advisory group (CRAG) separate from Council to look at a charging regime. We have done this.

“The whole issue will be open for discussion during submissions and hearings on the Long Term Plan in April and May next year. By then residents will have access to all the information, including the charging regime.

“This process will allow for a free and frank discussion between residents and councillors. That seems a sensible path to follow – one based on good information, an informed debate, and a process that is open, fair and transparent.”



As usual the messenger rather than the message is attacked by the mayor. The facts as outlined by the anti meter thousands are essentially correct. The Mayor is wrong. Everywhere meters have been introduced total rates have increased. The eight million dollars will be lost to Wellington regional supercity within two years. Wellington council have voted against water meters in the same way as the previous KCDC voted against meters. It is the new council and mayor who have pushed for this unaffordable spending of our rates. We the ratepayers have to pay. That’s why our rates are increasing whilst house and land values are decreasing in Kapiti David Scott

The backlash that the KCDC is experiencing in respect of water meters is of their own making. In the 2007 Mayoralty campaign, candidates were asked if they would endorse the introduction of water meters. Jenny Rowan, knowing full well that an affirmative response would be the death knell of her mayoralty campaign, stated she would not support water meters. During 2010 the Council ran numerous workshops and consultation processes on securing a water supply solution for Kapiti. I attended these community workshops – at each one, members of the public asked about water meters and were told categorically by senior council Managers that “water meters are not on the agenda.” The year long consultation process was supposedly thorough and transparent. The water taskforce headed by Don Hunn was also instructed by KCDC that they were not to include water meters in their investigations. At the KCDC meeting on 19 August 2011, the council, headed by Mayor Rowan, approved the River Recharge option as the preferred water supply, followed by the dam. The river recharge option was subject to further investigation of the bore sites and effects on the Waikanae River. At this Council meeting, water meters were again categorically off the agenda. Jenny Rowan’s 2010 election campaign was built around “At last – a final water solution for Kapiti”, being the river recharge and dam options. No mention of water meters, and so no questions from the public who were lead to believe that water meters were a non-issue. In fact, issues around water supply etc did not feature during the 2010 election campaign because we were advised that we had a final solution that would see the district’s water supply secured. Ms Elliott is right to question the Council process regarding water meters – we have had full, transparent and thorough consultation during 2009/2010 on all water options, the public had been told repeatedly that water meters were not on the Agenda, and the final water solution played a central part in Jenny Rowan’s 2010 election campaign. When water meters were reintroduced this year, we had another consultation, the results of which were overwhelmingly against their introduction. So, if water meters have been Council policy for years, as stated by Mayor Rowan, why was Mr Hunn’s taskforce excluded from considering them in their work for finding the best water solution for Kapiti, why were we told they were off the Agenda during water consultation meetings, why did the Mayor force through a vote on 19 August 2010 for deciding the water supply solution still excluding water meters and finally, exactly which consultation process will be transparent and will the Council take on board public sentiment and wishes??? You can fool some of the people some of the time but not all the people all of the time. We are beyond being fooled.

On reading an article in the Kapiti News edition of 21st Sept. 2011 “Major hold-up on water meter referendum”, I was rather astounded to note that the Mayor had stated “Some submitters last year said they would like further information on the charging regime to be used, before they could come to a final conclusion.”

I was rather taken with the wording of “Some” so I made an official information request on KCDC CEO as to the concise number of submitters who had actually requested further information on the charging regime to be used.

The reply I have received from KCDC states that “Within these submissions, Council has identified ten, which raise questions about the need for charging and costing details relating to the proposed water meters.”

I find it very ironic, that from just 10 submitters, the Mayor can instrument the adoption of a charging structure for water, when the Mayor will not even tolerate any thought of a Referendum on water meters which is urgently and definitely required by the majority of Kapiti community/ratepayers. The Petition for a Referendum is currently well into the thousands!

I rest my case.

I read with interest the Mayors persistent and well publicised attempts to persuade all of us peasants and uneducated dummies that nanny knows what is best for us all. Well our nanny has no idea of the opposition that is mounting against her attempots to override the wishes of a substabtial number of the citizens of this town. Mayor Rowan is guilty of a classic obfuscation (or beclouding) Obfuscation according to Wikipedia “is the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, wilfully ambiguous, and harder to interpret. It is clever but we are not so dimwitted as to swallow her hook line and sinker. The day of reckoning is nigh We will remember…

I add if our salaried CEO Mr Pat Dougherty is quote “not in a postion to defend himself”, Where is he? And why isn’t he allowed to speak publicly on this issue?

Water meters have only been Council policy since Jenny Rowan arrived on the scene and her consequently appointing Pat Dougherty as her CEO who was ideally suited to take up the water meter implementation role . This pre conceived plan to impliment water meters has been under wraps internally within Council and our incoming Councillors have been brain washed into believing it is the only way to go !!!! Jenny Rowan talks about having open and transparent consultation on the subject but this can only be expressed through a referendum as this Council has NO mandate to spend $8-14 million of our money pursuing an option that 90% of the ratepayers dont want

Since when has Council consultation been fair and transparent?
* Consultation last year resulted in the river recharge being the Councils preferred option in Aug/Sep 2010. Not water meters.
*The Community consultation Committee charged by Mr Hunn did not have water meters in their brief.
*The 2007 election resulted in Councillors against water meters being elected.
*Provision for water meters was taken out of the Annual Plan.
*Then Councillors Lester brought up water meters, in early 2011 and so it featured in workshop paper and the draft Annual Plan, resulting in an amendment proposed to the LTCCP to instal water meters.
*The majority of the 168 public submissions to this amendment were against it and ignored.

Kapiti residents have no faith in this process
Today 4000 Kapiti ratepayers demand an immediate referendum on water meters.

Can the Mayor dig up from the archives where water meters were Council Policy, as I can only remember it being on the Agenda to discuss!

The fact is the majority of residents in Kapiti want the much more sensible solution of water storage and have said so time and time again over past years. They have made it plain they want water storage, but council always sneaks meters back into the agenda on water supply. The mayor and CEO and other senior staff and council members want their way, regardless of their employers (ratepayers) opionion. Power is all but I will exercise mine by not voting for anyone who uses their elected power to support meters. Jenny Rowan appears to have no moral values.

Copies of the original Nelson water meter press release dated 01/10 are available from me at Please circulate ,as the local print media have failed so far to break the story. I didn’t go to Nelson to find this information, the public of Nelson came to me to warn the Kapiti public after experiencing 12yrs of Water Meters installed under Mr Pat Dougherty’s 24yr tenure there as Water Services Manager and Deputy CEO over the time it was instigated. He can’t help it, its just fact, he was there.
Likewise I can’t agree with the statement from the Mayors office either, in fact past KCDC Water advertsising features on my desk right now don’t support her statement.

The issue is water storage not water usage. Water meters will not solve a water shortage now or in the future.

As a 30 year resident I can recall council encouraging people to remove their tanks when reticulation arrived. I can not recall at any time council informing the ratepayers that installing water meters was policy . It may be Jenny Rowans own policy in which case she had the opportunity to convey it to the electorate when she last stood for mayor.