Bill Leaves Bitter Taste


Is Auckland’s water going to be privatised?

Labour and Greens today pushed such warning lights after the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, which seeks to allow councils to offer 35 year leases on water infrastructure, was tabled in Parliament.

Labour’s Phil Twyford says Rodney Hide’s Bill allowing private companies to own the water infrastructure of councils for up to 35 years is privatisation in spite of Government denials.

And the Greens say that private management of Auckland’s water on a long term basis is effectively privatisation — it takes control out of Aucklanders hands and puts profits into private pockets.

Green MP re-named the bill  ‘Rodney’s Water Privatisation by Stealth Amendment Bill.’

“We have seen in the past with the rail network that private companies run these integral pieces of infrastructure into the ground without any investment into their upkeep.

“Mr Hide has said we shouldn’t worry that the Supercity Bill removes the moratorium on sale of assets from July 2012, as the assets are protected by the Local Government Act. With the new amendment, that protection effectively disappears.

“35 years is a long time for a private company to have a monopoly on providing a service and without community input we run the risk of a degraded water system in the future.

“There is no need to privatise in this way — the system needs to be open and transparent and have the goal of providing the best service for all Aucklanders rather than the biggest profit for its shareholders.”

Who owns Auckland's water?

Labour’s Phil Twyford said the bill also repeals the requirement for councils to consult the public before contracting out public services to the private sector.

“Rodney Hide is determined to lock the public out of key decisions concerning their council services. In the Auckland super city, Mr Hide wants to take 75% of Auckland’s core services and put them in the hands of unelected council controlled organisations.

“This Government wants to run local government like big business. He needs to realise we are talking about communities, not corporations.”





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