‘Ask Us First!’

Anti-Water Meter Campaign Hits 5000

The ‘Ask Us First’ group led by Jackie Elliott says 5000 anti-water meter signatures have been gathered from Kapiti public in just six weeks.

The campaigners are calling a ratepayer-initiated referendum on the issue.  ( it would be KCDC’s first referendum).
Petition organiser Jackie Elliott says:”There is strong feeling not only against the water meters that we can’t afford, but also against Council’s management and fiscal decision making.”

‘Public demand for consultation’

“The public are demanding an extra layer of consultation which could  easily take place.

“The Mayor has refused to hold a put the question on water meters to a public test and says she couldn’t be forced by the amount of opposition to the scheme, as there is no 5% thresh-hold that would force a binding referendum.”

But, Ms Elliott says, “Petition campaigners are delighted with the fact we have already gained over 4 times that threshold.

“Many signatories feel that Council are treating them as stupid while they plough ahead with controversial plans, despite the public’s express disapproval.”

First referendum request on August 5
Ms Elliott also says she made her first public, formal, request for a referendum on August 5.

Thirteen days later, while she waited for a reply (which she says she never got) Council’s Corporate Committee approved a $25million loan to buy and install the water meters.

She adds:” In the same meeting they made the decision to announce plans to join the Local Government Funding Agency, using 25,000 ratepayers homes as collateral. The public consultation period for this frightening policy was a mere 4 weeks!

“The Public voiced real anger at the lack of information and shortness of the six-weeks consultation period allowed for the first water meter consultation last March. But Council have responded by halving that timeframe to join the Funding Agency to four weeks.
The ‘Ask Us First’ petition will be presented at a Council Public meeting at 10am on November 17.

Congratulations to Jackie Elliott and her team in collecting 5,000 signatures on the Petition for a referendum.
However, a gentle word of encouragement to Jackie to get her facts tight.
KCDC’s 18/8/11 Corporate Business Committee DID NOT APPROVE a $25 million loan to ‘buy and install water meters’ as claimed by Jackie.
That’s 3 times the Council quoted cost.
A Water Supply report had the usual figure of ‘$8.2 million for water meters’ to be ‘in future years’
Betty van Gaalen
Copy of Water Supply report page sent to Editor for validation, as well as a copy of the $36 million loans listed for this year’s Council Capital works programme that does not contain ‘buying or installing water metres’

What I object to is the KCDC’s arrogance in deciding for us a matter they never even brought up in the last election.

The swelling petition numbers reflect a lack of trust in the council – small wonder when they say one thing to get elected and do another once they’re in office, perhaps thinking the electorate too busy (or too stupid) to remember from one minute to the next. They farm us like cattle.

But every single person who signed the petition will remember. The council ought to be thinking about that, as least the ones who want another term.

Get re-relected? UR DOIN IT RONG

I was the most outspoken councillor against the council spending over $8 Million on water meters. The last council voted NOT to install them. Wellington council has voted NOT to install them. When the region takes over KCDC in the next couple of years, we (ratepayers) will by spending this huge amount of money be basically handing our rates to the new Wellington supercity council.

Well, I’m a great believer in the power of the minority but this looks as if there is a serious number of people
against water metering, or maybe it’s for a referendum. Doesn’t really matter, does it? If the powers say no
referendum, they’re saying yes to wasting time, water, energy … life’s essentials. And wasting money. Risky business ignoring people’s wishes. Maybe it could be done by installing WMs only with the residents’ permissions.

Well done to Jackie, her team and all the Kapiti Coasters who have shown their support by signing the petition.
Whilst the initial tally of petition signatures will be presented with a Protest March at Council Chambers on 17 November 2011, the online petition will remain open well into 2012. Let’s get 10,000+ signatures. If you or your neighbours, friends and family want a referendum on water meters then encourage them to go to http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/kapiti-against-water-meters.html now and sign the petition.

I do wonder if people signing the petition are thinking through this issue. I would have thought, given ‘water-tight’ legislation which in any way prevents commercial ownership of water charges, it makes sense to have water meters.

I would qualify this with the proviso that the meters are ‘smart’. Electricity meters are currently read every other month, but these smart meters give appropriate and timely feedback, to help people monitor and change their usage.

See this site to see what I mean about smart meters: http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/how-smart-metering-can-solve-the-water-crisis.html

Anthony Britton