Ask us First anti- water meter campaigners and the rest of the community are in shock after the Kāpiti District Council’s 9-to-3 vote to accept water meters.
This was despite a majority of those taking part in both of the Council’s preferred consultation processes being against water metering.At the crucial KCDC meeting, the Council ignored a majority of submitters opposing a Council plan for the fifth time in a row.
‘Council ignored petition’
The Council also ignored the exact reason why residents petitioned Council to add a referendum to the Consultation process.
But the majority decided otherwise anyway.
However, despite the outcome, campaigners have quickly resolved that Councillors have made a grave mistake and, fortunately for Kapiti Coasters, have a chance to reverse that on June 28th by refusing to ratify the decision and declaring a new vote.
We have heard why Councillors made their decisions on the day and are able to reply at a Council meeting on the 14th of June, with reminders to Council and the Mayor in particular that she did say repeatedly “There will be no water meters” at the last election.
Mayor stresses conservation
The Mayor and CEO’s main reason for water meters was conservation. However that argument has no ground as they said themselves in a press release on 5th April 2010, (see below) that water consumption was down.
(“Consumption figures show the district’s peak use of water over the summer period dropped from 654 lpd (litres per person per day) in 2008/09 to 556 lpd in 2009/10, representing a reduction of 17.6%. that was despite fewer ‘wet’ days which dropped from 52 days in 2008/09 to 46 days in 2009/10. ‘This is a great result for the Kapiti Coast,’Mayor Rowan. said.
“There are a number of variables in water consumption figures but it seems the importance of conserving water is now being understood by a very large section of the community.”)
Leakage not sustainable
Conservation? The Council and public must also be reminded that the CRAG report recommends Council’s current 20 – 25% leakage from the reticulated water supply is not only sustainable, but that a further 5 % leakage up to 30 % will be acceptable business practice. (page 12 CRAG report)
Janet Holborow, of the Paekakariki Community Board, and Michael Scott, chair of the Waikanae Community Board, must be applauded for taking the floor and holding it while they asked every single question put to them by their communities.=
Ms Holborows call was for an opt – out clause, on annual payment of an extra $81.00, the rates increase per household quoted by the Mayor if water meters did not proceed in Paekakariki. This was turned down. She said their own independent survey showed 80% of residents against water meters.
Mr Scott felt his board’s submission had been completely misinterpreted by Council, and they failed to answer the board’s concerns satisfactorily. He also said they had no right to instigate the tender process before the vote.
Guru denial on KCDC ‘mandate’
Cr Gurunathan denied that Council had any tenable mandate for water meters, and questioned why the time restraints suggesting Council wait 16 months until after the next election before making a final decision, the wait was refused by the CEO.
Cr Booth appeared to have not read page 24 of the CRAG report when he repeated the old slogan that his vote for water meters was because the current system of charging was unfair to single-person households who were unfairly subsidizing larger households.
(The CRAG report found that low usage and pensioner households were not currently paying ‘their fair share, and will be paying more for water use from the day charging begins under the 50/50 charging regime).
Cr Booth also claimed Council had purchased the dam site, despite the Mayor confirming that the land purchase hadn’t yet been completed. Now the public must ask the question, “Where are the millions of dollars borrowed for this purchase seven months ago?”
Cr Penny Gaylor astounded those attending when she said: ‘Privatization would be a great thing.’
I do not believe the people of Otaki would agree. It was a pity that Otaki’s Community had no further representation than this, with Te Wari Carceek’s seat empty.
Cr Wooding had mixed up the Council’s acceptance of the TAG report, quoting it as being 2007, under the Milne-lead Council, instead of 2010 under Mayor Rowan.
Cr Ellis requested wording be changed to allow for the optional inclusion of an extension to the two-year dummy billing period, should it be shown that water meters would not generate the required income for Council.
CEO Pat Dougherty refused on the grounds that the rushed timing of the entire process was critical to enable Council to fulfil their obligations to complete the planning process for local government under the Local Government Act.
I say it is a great pity for this community that adherence to the supposed time frame is at the expense of democracy.