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Rise up against water privatisation


A national Day of Action against water privatisation is planned for Saturday (12 June) with protests from Whangarei to Dunedin. The protests are a response to the Local Government Amendemnt Bill. On Tuesday 4 May 2010 the bill passed its first reading in New Zealand Parliament. One aspect of the Bill deals with water. While the government is denying this, the Bill allows councils to privatise water. They will be able to:

  • enter into contracts with private companies to run water services for up to 35 years (the current limit is 15 years)
  • allow private companies to own and control water infrastructure for the duration of these contracts (the current legislation requires councils to retain ownership and control of water)

The long-term leases the Bill allows for are the dominant model of water privatisation in the world. It is very rare for councils or governments to sell off the water asset entirely. Long term leases work in private companies favour as they can make profit from water while the public sector retains long-term costs and responsibilty. Internationally the model that has been proposed is shown to lead to higher water costs, less accountability and reduced services. The global water industry is dominated by two mega companies Suez and Veolia. A subsidary of Veolia is United Water and already active in New Zealand. Right to Water says "we think no one should profit from water - it is a natural monopoly, a necessity of life, and a human right."

Links: Right to Water | Water Pressure Group | Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill | Online Submission | You can't drink money - you can't drink shit! | Stop Privatisation | Cochabamba Water Wars


12 noon - 2.00pm
Proposed Rally outside Whangerei District Council Chambers, Forum North Building, Rust Avenue, Whangarei
Assistance needed with placards / speakers
Contact: Claire Swinney, (09) 430 7252 or  021-0732885

North Shore City
12 noon - 2.00pm
Rally outside North Shore City Council Chambers
1 The Strand, Takapuna
Contact: Kerry Bevan by email or (09) 473 3747 or Percy Allison on (09) 443 0369

Waitakere City

12 noon - 2.00pm
Rally outside Waitakere City Council Chambers
6 Henderson Valley Road, Henderson, Waitakere
Contact: Mered Barrar by email or (09) 836 6389

Rally outside Auckland Town Hall.
Contact Penny Bright,  email or (09) 846 9825 or 021 211 4 127

Manakau City
12 noon - 2.00pm
Rally outside Manakau City Council Chambers
31-33 Wiri Station Road (opposite Manukau District Court), Manukau City Centre
Contact: Bill Wiki by email or 021 058 6538

Franklin District Council
12 noon - 2pm
Outside Franklin District Council Chambers
82 Manukau Road, Pukekohe
Contact: Judy Spencer (09) 236 3899 or Margaret Swift   Ph Judy (09) 236 3899
Or email Franklin against Water Privatisation

12 noon - 2pm
Thames-Coromandel District Council
515 Mackay Street
Contact Libby Boyd on email

Rally outside Hamilton City Council Chambers
Contact: Mischelle Rhodes by email or (07) 847 7405

Hutt City
12 noon - 2pm
Main Council Building, 30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt
Contact Anna Sutherland, on email or  021 349 411

Kapiti Coast
Coastlands stall and rally,
Contact David Scott, on email

Bucket Fountain on Cuba Street. moving at 12.30 to the  Wellington City Council Buildings, 101 Wakefield St Wellington
Contact Sam Buchanan on email

, NB Sunday not Saturday
Sunday 13th June, 3pm
Cathedral Square, Cathedral will be open if its wet
Contact Eugenie Sage (03) 329 8177

Dunedin Council Chambers, Civic Centre, 50 The Octogan
Contact Fliss Buther, on email or (03) 477 9972 or Lyndon Weggery, on email


Choice to see a real

Choice to see a real nation-wide day of action, and coming out of the ongoing organising of many folks - thank you! Btw, what is a 'natural monopoly'?

'Natural monopoly' - when the

'Natural monopoly' - when the nature of a product or service means that, in a market economy, it will tend to be supplied by a single source.

In the case of reticulated water, it is highly unlikely that their will ever be more than one set of pipes and other infrastructure, so their will not be a choice of suppliers and competition won't lead to cheaper prices or more efficient delivery.

Therefore, the claims of those who support privatisation, that it will lead to greater choice and efficiency, are inherently invalid. Which is not to say that, even where there is real free-market competition, it necessarily improves the delivery of a service or product.


Good explanation. I struggle to see how there can be free market competition when it comes to infrastructure ownership and management. It's the kind of thing which is ideally suited to (central or local) government ownership. The downside is efficiency (as anyone who has to deal with local authorities knows) and adequate incentives to continue investment. The alternative is private ownership with price controls. But that has its own set of problems.

Sounds a bit like a tiny "glimmer of realisation" in Lentil!

Sounds a bit like a tiny "glimmer of realisation" in Lentil!

Truth is you will never have 2 systems of pipes for water, lines for electricity and roads in the same area "competing" with each other.

Hence common sense can only prevail. Of course infrastructure must be managed and maintained at efficient levels, and sometimes hard decisions will always be necessary. Yet that does not meant to make a "profit" for "profit's sake" and short changing the employee that is hired to just do the best she or he can do.

Maybe some rethinking and rebalancing will bring us to a common sense solution?

I for once believe in a society where in the case of some labour not being required in one area anymore being retrained and re-employed in another area, which means employing people, giving them a livelihood and ensuring a stable kind of economy and society. Certainly this is not easy, but that is what we should always strive to achieve for rather than "dump' them on meagre benefits and in hopeless situations leading to social problems costing us all much more!

Cheers for that.

Cheers for that.

Privatisation and Monopoly Rule

We have at present a highly celebrated "Soccer World Cup" taking place in South Africa. I have already raised this in another post. Well, who has been able to watch any soccer from there over "free to view" recently? I guess very few. The reality is that the body overseeing that popular sports event is FIFA. They sell rights for broadcasts and other COMMERCIAL activities to bidders that then have the "right" to show and broadcast games and sell associated products.

What we have is a perfect example of commercialisation, monopolisation and the denial of common, public rights to information to the wider communities world-wide.

There used to be an environment where most broadcasting was state controlled and owned. Then the state broadcaster did (usually for broadcasting fees) ensure "free" viewing for all. That has been abolished with privatisation. We have remnants of public broadcasting acting as SOE's or whatever trying to bid for rights with often high paying private operators that can raise large funds by generating income from advertising.

People are "conned" into private broadcasting by initially tempting offers. Once they sign up they pay hard cash for every use of the media, which is still often inundated with commercial advertising, which generates the "true income" of the broadcasters.

So we have increasing brainwashing (commercials), rip-offs, a lowering of standards and more and more "user pays" services.

Most people that have not got Sky TV or satellite sources are condemned to give the World Cup a miss, apart from the odd game broadcasted, where NZ plays. We have a large international event go past the bulk of society, that is shut out.

This is what privatisation and commercialisation really means. Only certain payers (who can afford it) and thus privileged people enjoy the viewing of certain programs. Others are 2nd or 3rd class now, condemned to watch repeats and whatever is second rate.

Thank you Roger Douglas, Ruth Richardson, Jenny Shipley, Jim Bolger and now Rodney Hide and John Boscawen. We really love you for putting us in the very back row of society!