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, the Green Party said today.
The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill, which seeks to allow councils to offer 35 year leases on water infrastructure, was tabled in Parliament yesterday.
“Generations of Aucklanders have paid for the water infrastructure. Mr Hide’s amendment Bill hands over control of this key asset to private hands,” Green Party MP and Super City Spokesperson David Clendon said.
“The Bill should be called ‘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.
“Thirty-five 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,” Mr Clendon said.
“We are completely opposed to the privatisation of water or other key infrastructure that has been built up over generations. We don’t want foreign-controlled multinational corporations controlling our water supplies, and nor do New Zealanders," Green Local Government spokesperson Sue Kedgley said today.
Ms Kedgley said Local Government is the new battleground for the government's agenda to corporatise and privatise as many community assets as possible.
“Every community in New Zealand should be worried about the government, and the Minister of Local Government's, agenda.
“I assume the motivation of this Bill is to open up new markets for ACT and National corporate backers,” Ms Kedgley said.