Water Meter Row

At least two KCDC waverers on water meters

Editorial by Alan Tristram

The Kāpiti Independent can reveal that at least two KCDC councillors are now favourably considering whether the Council should change its policy on water meters.


This will come as good news to Jackie Elliot and the 7661 Kāpiti Coast people who backed her petition for a referendum on the issue.Earlier in the month, I spoke to one Kāpiti councillor who told me quietly: ‘I don’t see how we can ignore a petition that big.’

And now Councillor K Gurunathan (Guru) has stated baldly in a newspaper column that the Council must change its stance following the public furore over the massive pay rise for the CEO –while big cost over-runs were being announced for Council projects.

Cr Guru says: “Given (the) political momentum it will be foolhardy not to support a call for an intelligent referendum (and I mean intelligent) on water meters.”

Water meter trouble ahead

These cracks in the Council dam presage trouble ahead for Mayor Jenny Rowan and Councillors who are firm proponents of the widely disliked meter plan.Some other councillors may soon feel it’s better to jettison at least one unpopular council policy to try to keep some of the ratepayers happy some of the time.

Late last year, the petition, the largest such ratepayer initiative in Kāpiti’s history, calling for a referendum on water meters, was presented to the district council amid accusations of undemocratic behavior.

About 30 ‘Ask Us First’ lobbyists carrying banners and placards staged a protest outside Kapiti Coast District Council’s headquarters  before presenting the 7661-signature petition to mayor Jenny Rowan at a council meeting.

The council had been considering introducing water meters at a cost of $8 million and included them in its latest annual plan.

‘Huge opposition to meters’

Petition organiser Jackie Elliot said the petition demonstrated the huge opposition to water meters and (showed) that the council had no mandate before making its decision.

She said: “This community no longer trusts council’s consultation process.”

Ms Rowan said at the time the council would ‘consider’ the call for a referendum.

Maybe the Council will now do this.

But the problem for the CEO, KCDC planners , Mayor and other pro-meter councillors is that a referendum would probably blast a hole in their plans.

If KCDC had listend to the community over the last two years’ (at least) Draft Annual Plan submisions, they would not now be needing “austerity measures”. The community signalled quite clearly to ‘live within means” ” cut back on all unnecessary projects” “build a dam and forget all the other items” etc. Too late to say that “we have listend to the community” and “the economic climate has changed since 2009” (doh, did it really take them three years to work that one out?) after they have given the green light to wish list projects ahead of essentials such as a dam and storm water project. Now they tell us they want our thoughts because they don’t have any money for all the storm water upgrades required – wonder what their liability will be if we have mass flooding. Oh, but that doesn’t matter because it is actually ratepayers who willl pay for any liability incurred. And Cr Gurunathan wants an “intelligent” referendum………..

It’s been intriguing that, despite repeated claims that the decision on water meters has yet to be finalised and that Ms Rowan has “an open mind”, the recent comments from the council on the need for cost savings have said that none of the council’s major projects, including the water meter plan, will be delayed or abandoned.

Maybe the only way you guys are going to win on this issue is to do something other than sign a petition, not ignoring Jackie’s heroic efforts to gather the signatures, but as we know the wants and needs of the people are irrelevant, when compared to the empire building mindset of most councils (and the government) throughout New Zealand.
So maybe the people in Kapiti need to take a leaf out of the Arab spring ‘manifesto’ ……. and actually do something.
My suggestion is to just leave your taps running 24/7 until the water meters and fluoride are ‘off the table’, you may suffer bore water or even limited supply, if enough of the apathetic masses actually do something, compared to say Homs and the suffering going on in Syria at the moment, what is yucky tasting drinking water?
So get ‘militant’ tell KCDCC to go fuk themselves, and let them know who is actually the boss around here, NB it is not the criminals in the council.
The only way ‘we’ are going to get remotely listened to is if we make them bleed, lets hope a good bit of financial blood letting is enough.
Personally I’m for public flogging, and bringing back the death penalty for treason, but then I’m ahead of my time 😉
Rememberer these criminals have had ample opportunity to look into the issues around peak oil, yet they all chose to ignore it …. even the great Guru.
This http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOMWzjrRiBg is only 34 minutes long and is in easy to understand comic strip form, so most of you should get it … yeah right.

Two down…. I wonder what Mr Gurunathan refers to as an “intelligent” referendum, considering the one presented to Council was worded by two different lawyers and the Electoral office. As being fair and without prejudice, bias or propaganda.
I am saddened to read the Mayor’s latest spin, courtesy no doubt of the new KCDC public relations employee. ” That one of KCDC’s 5 austerity (excuse me while I choke on that word) measures is to introduce water metering” and THAT statement was made without
1) considering the outcomes of the CRAG committee.
2) without announcing a referendum
3) without public submissions during a further consultation process in March /April 2012.

I do have to ask, can Councillors show in the minutes of ANY KCDC meeting where, in January/February this year, they were asked for their input into the decision indicated by the Mayors statement above. And was there a vote? Or is this yet another example of Ms Rowans autocracy at work? Any Councillor is welcome to answer my question.