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Privatisation: Day Of Action

Written By: - Date published: 12:30 pm, June 11th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: activism, democracy under attack, local government, privatisation - Tags: , , ,

John Key continues to let his attack dog do his business, and take the heat. So on Saturday there’s some more heat with a big Day Of Action to fight Rodney’s latest nasty bill.

The Greens, Labour and the Maori Party are all fighting this odorous piece of legislation that aims to allow privatisation of water, amongst other attacks on local democracy.

The Bill also removes a lot of consultation with the public about whether to sell assets or if a major development is going on in your area; creates a list of ‘core services’ for councils to focus on (excluding things like pensioner housing, the environment and economic development); and puts in place rate caps based on those in Colorado, where you can pay $100 to have your local streetlight turned on, and the transit system has all but shut down.

The experience from London to Bolivia to well… New Zealand is that on privatisation water rates go up 50% in 4 years, investment goes down, and profits increase markedly – but are then shipped back to France where the private water firms are based. If systems are leased (as proposed), they are also generally run into the ground near the end of the lease to save the private company money – at the public’s expense. Monopolies like water make absolutely no sense to put in private hands – there is no reason for the firms not to gouge profits out. Councils can be tempted however, as although the long term cost is greater (after covering a private firm’s higher borrowing costs plus profit), it removes things from the balance sheet, making the accounts look healthier.

The Colorado experience is really worth looking at – it is terrifying in the extreme, but it’s Rodney’s wet dream.

As well as you turning up at the Day of Action, Labour and the Greens are also calling for you to make a submission before Friday the 18th. The Greens’ guide is here, Labour’s here.

Come on down, and stand up against NAct’s latest attack on democracy.

22 comments on “Privatisation: Day Of Action ”

  1. Fisiani 1

    Water is not being privatised. Get a dictionary. There is the possibility of water supply services being contracted out.

  2. Lazy Susan 2

    This bill will allow councils to privatise core services, such as water, for up to 35 years with little need for consultation or justification.

    It seems that, in Auckland’s case, the CCO”s will be able to make such a decision without needing the consent of council. This bill is odorous and will clear the path for the robbery of our assets by a corporate elite with all of the profits being hiked off overseas to multinational parent companies.

    Former Managing Director of United Water South Australia, Graham Wood, has been apponted as ‘Programme Manager’ for the Auckland Transition Authority to lead the integration of Auckland regional water services. United Water already run the privatised water services in Papakura & Franklin so you can see where this is going.

    It’s a blatent attack on democracy and once an asset has been privatised it’s gone for 35 years at least. Doesn’t matter what council you subsequently vote for once it’s gone it’s gone. Hide and NAct disgust me with their grubby attack on democracy . We need to fight this with everything we’ve got.

    • john 2.1

      Hi Susan I fully support what you say 100%. It’s sickening the arrogance and contempt for New Zealanders the Nact regime displays. On a lighter note something you said reminded me of a Shakespeare comedy where the buffoon gets his words mixed up: I am sure you meant the bill is onerous not odorous! We can laugh at that one together! Sorry for sounding patronising.

      • Lazy Susan 2.1.1

        Thanks John. I did actually mean odorous as in “it stinks”. However I take your point that odorous can also mean something smells fragrant which this bill certainly doesn’t.

        Let’s say the bill is oderous, onerous and “on us” as in “the bill will be on us” as the multinational troughers gorge themselves at our expense.

  3. sweetd 3

    Lazy Susan

    “…once an asset has been privatised it’s gone for 35 years at least.”

    Sorry, but where does it go?

  4. Gooner 4

    Susan is lazy alright.

    So lazy she doesn’t even bother to understand that it cannot be privitisation because the council is the ultimate owner of the water infrastructure assets.

    So lazy that she doesn’t even bother to understand that Watercare cannot make any such decision without the consent of council because the council issues the statement of intent which Watercare is obliged to follow.

    So lazy that she doesn’t realise, as sweetd noted, that a privatised asset hasn’t gone anywhere. The infrastructure stays in NZ Susan, in case you missed that one.

    If that is the calibre of the activists in the “day of inaction” then it’ll be a doozy. For sure.

    • felix 4.1

      You couldn’t be more wrong when you say “it cannot be privitisation because the council is the ultimate owner of the water infrastructure assets.”

      The definition of privatisation is far broader than you imply: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatization

      Transferring control of a public service to a private contractor most certainly is privatisation.

    • Lazy Susan 4.2

      Gooner thank you for your kind words.

      You seem not to have read or have chosen not to understand the bill. You can find it here.

      A 35 year lease of an asset with managment control handed over to a private company is privitisation. The asset is privatised for 35 years. See Clause 31 of the Amendment Bill.

      A statement of intent is as wooly as it sounds. “Oh, I intended to charge a reasonable price for water but unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances I didn’t, sorry about that local body”

      And yes the asset does stay in NZ but the control of the asset passes to a private company for 35 years and who knows what shape it might be in once it’s handed back.

  5. Jum 5

    Sweetd

    In words of one syllable (3 syllables!). We pay, they own and charge what they like for 35 (3 syllables) years. They use the infrastructure (4 syllables) we paid for, they pass on costs for repairs (2 syllables) and replacement (3 syllables). We gain zero (2 syllables). They profit (2 syllables) at our expense (2 syllables).

    No one should profit (2) least of all a foreign (2) multinational (5) from our water (2) resources (3).

  6. Gooner 6

    The definition of privitisation is whatever you deem it to be it seems.

    • felix 6.1

      Not at all. I provided a list of definitions above.

      They all define privatisation as some variant of taking public assets or services and handing control of them over to the private sector.

      It’s not that it means “whatever you deem it”, it’s just a bit broader than what you thought it was.

  7. Macro 7

    Whatever YOU deem it to be it seems. Which is a very limited use of the term.

  8. Jenny 8

    It’s good to see the three main parties of the left putting aside their differences over this very important issue.

    It bodes well for the future.

  9. Jum 9

    The most interesting part is where Graham Wood, former Managing Director of United Water, South Australia, (now employed by the Auckland Transition Agency ATA) is currently leading the ‘integration’ of Auckland regional water services, which is being prepared for a takeover by Veolia, French multinational and parent of United Water.

    Well known privatiser, David Hawkins, ex Mayor of Papakura who led Papakura down the nasty path of water privatisation/contracting out was in 2000 appointed Corporate Liaison Manager at Watercare Services Ltd by CEO Mark Ford, who now heads ATA. So, first, they take over Watercare, then filter through ATA, now working through JKeyll and Hide to remove safeguard legislation to enable easier ‘change of ownership’ to private business. Shameful.

    Felix’ reference to Wikipedia was very interesting. Smith lying about the health of ACC matched exactly the plan of international privatising chief execs to talk down the value of a state asset and then sell it on to private business, which suddenly realises a very valuable asset. Meanwhile the top management receive very lucrative payoffs.

    What these so-called leaders of our country are plotting against their own countrymen is enough to make your skin crawl. They’re political psychopaths with no regard for human rights or consequences, only their own profit and power.

    Does that make those who voted for NAct psycho-masochists? Sounds about right.

  10. Gooner 10

    From your definition link:

    Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector (government) to the private sector (\”business\”)

    Ownership of Watercare is not being transferred. End of story. As I initially said, it remains the owner. Stop the lies.

    • Lazy Susan 10.1

      From the same definition link

      The process of private, for-profit businesses taking over the provision of public services. Types of government contracts that have been privatized include prisons, water utilities, trash collection, clerical jobs, food service, information system jobs, and job placement for welfare recipients

      Stop the semantic twaddle and show some courage in your convictions and address the issue.

  11. Jum 11

    Gooner
    What a joke. This government is coached to lie. It is coached by Lord Ashcroft and everything Key has done is now being done by Cameron. Your mates disgust me. How any government can ram through what this Douglas/Key/Hide/English has forced upon us and now tell us to trust them – like I said – what a joke.

  12. Gooner 12

    Jum, Key is not a mate of mine – I have never voted for the National Party.

    Your conspiracy theories are good enough for comics. You should write some.

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