The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

REQUEST FOR SPEAKING RIGHTS AT THE ARC MEETING TO BE HELD ON MONDAY 26 APRIL 2010 AT 4PM

21 April 2010

Chair of the ARC
Mike Lee

OPEN LETTER/ REQUEST FOR ‘SPEAKING RIGHTS’ AT THE NEXT MEETING OF THE AUCKLAND REGIONAL COUNCIL TO BE HELD ON MONDAY 26 APRIL, AT 4PM:

Dear Mike,

I am requesting an opportunity to address the ARC on the following matters of ‘urgency’ and ‘public interest’ pertaining to the Auckland ‘Supercity’ – as follows:

1) Update on petitions that were before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee,regarding the Auckland ‘Supercity’, including 2 petitions supporting the public’s democratic right to a binding poll on the Auckland ‘Supercity reorganisation proposal’.
(Four of the five petitions have now been reported back to the House.)

2) The only petition which is now ‘live’ before the House is the following:
E) Petition 2008/60 of Penelope Mary Bright and 171 others, presented by Su’a William Sio, on 9 December 2009 – referred to the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.

“Requesting that the House of Representatives do not implement any legislative changes to the Local Government Act 2002 which would make it easier to privatise water services via changes to ‘contracting out’, and ‘Public Private Partnership’ (PPP) provisions, until a full and thorough independent investigation of the pricing practices of private water company United Water’s seven contracts in New Zealand has been undertaken.”

I HAVE BEEN ASKED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ENVIRONMENT SELECT COMMITTEE TO PROVIDE EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THIS PETITION BY 7 MAY 2010.

(If any ARC Councillors have any information/views that they would like included as ‘evidence’ – I will consider adding this as further evidence to support this petition.)

3) Facts and evidence which prove the lack of ‘due diligence’ and ‘prudent stewardship’ over Auckland regional public resources – namely the total lack of any ‘cost-benefit analysis’ which supports the ‘cost-effectiveness’ of the Council Controlled Organisation (CCO) model, into which it is planned to put up to $28 billion of Auckland regional public assets and infrastructure.

a)This includes the spreading of the ‘user-pays’ model for wastewater, which will have the effect of lowering rates for wealthier families, whilst increasing water services charges for poorer, particularly larger families who need to use more water, effectively violating the UN International Right to Water by disproportionately burdening poorer families for the cost of water services compared with wealthier families.

(The proposed ‘giant’ Metrowater model for the Auckland region, with Watercare taking over both the ‘retail’ as well as ‘wholesale’ function, would see families of 8 paying over $2000 per year (over $500 every 3 months) for water and wastewater services on top of property rates – based on Metrowater current charges.)

4) The now ‘open’ water privatisation agenda, which started under Watercare, and now extends to the Auckland Transition Agency (ATA).

This includes the selection of Graham Wood, the former Managing Director of United Water South Australia, who is now Programme Manager, leading the ‘integration’ of Auckland regional water services.

ie: A ‘water privatiser’ is now in charge of ‘integrating’ our publicly-owned Auckland regional water and wastewater services.

(NB: South Australia United Water are now being taken to Court by the South Australian Government, for allegedly overcharging South Australia customers for corporate overhead costs arising from NZ United Water contracts.

A copy of the South Australia Water ‘Statement of Claim’ against United Water is attached FYI.

An allegedly misleading and deceptive letter from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)
in allegedly misrepresenting United Water’s profits in 2001 is referred to para in 43 (Pg 4)
and para 53 (Pg 9) in this ‘Statement of Claim’.

NB: Graham Wood was Managing Director of United Water in 2001.)

5) Suggested, and recommended action that could be taken by the ARC in support of citizens and ratepayers who are considering the taking of a stand which cannot be ignored:

– A ‘Rates Revolt’ to stop the Supercity, in order to save and safeguard our lawful democratic rights as citizens, our public assets and resources for our children, grandchildren and future generations.

SUGGESTED (DRAFT) RESOLUTION FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF ARC COUNCILLORS:

“That elected representatives of the ARC resolve
in support and defence of the underpinning principles:

a) That ‘the will of the people is the basis of the authority of government’, and there should be ‘no taxation without representation’;

b)That citizens have a lawful democratic right to a binding poll (vote) on a ‘reorganisational proposal’ such as the Auckland ‘Supercity’;

c) That local government must be ‘open, transparent and democratically accountable’
to the citizens and ratepayers of those districts, cities and regions;

d) That ‘prudent stewardship’ and ‘fiscal responsibility’ must be exercised over the ownership, operation and management of public resources,’ thus models such as Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) whose ‘cost-effectiveness’ for the public majority has yet to be proven by a ‘cost-benefit analysis’, should not be used;

e) That the ownership, operation and management of essential public services – especially water services, which are vital for public health and sanitation,should remain under the direct democratic control of elected representatives, not ‘commercialised’ under the CCO (Metrowater) model or privatised under the Public Private Partnership (PPP – (United Water Papakura) model.

f) That as the right to affordable, safe water is an UN International Human Right
which states:

“.s 27…Equity demands that poorer households should not be disproportionately burdened with water expenses as compared to richer households,”

[“UNITED NATIONS COMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
General Comment No. 15 (2002) The right to water (Articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic,Social and Cultural Rights) 26 November 2002.]

– it is recognised that the spreading of ‘user-charges’ for wastewater services will further violate that right, and potentially cause financial hardship particularly to larger, poorer families who need to use more water as a vital necessity for life;

that the ARC hereby resolves that there will be no initiating of ‘rate recovery’ proceedings under s 62 and/or
s63 of the Local Government Rating Act 2002, against any citizens and ratepayers who dispute and withold rates payments for any of the above-mentioned reasons.”

(More background information is available on:

https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

(Please be advised that I have been granted 15 minutes to address Waitakere City Council ‘Public Forum’ on Wednesday 28 April 2010 at 5pm on the above-mentioned matters.)

I look forward to confirmation of this opportunity to address the ARC.

Thanks very much.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Bright

Media Spokesperson
Water Pressure Group
Judicially recognised ‘Public Watchdog’ on Metrowater, water and Auckland regional governance matters.
“Anti-corruption campaigner”

Ph (09) 846 9825
021 211 4 127

https://waterpressure.wordpress.com

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April 21, 2010 - Posted by | Stop the $uper City

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