Strong objection to use of water meters

LETTER

I would strongly object to any investigation about the use of water meters in Gisborne. However, I have noticed new water meters with bright blue covers have already been installed, belying the statement there is to be an investigation only.

I assume no fiscally responsible council would go to the expense of installing water meters without the intention of covering these costs by charging for the service, aka water. It’s a nonsense to say meters are only for monitoring the use of water. It’s like saying we’ll put in parking meters but you will have free parking. Yeah right.

We lived in Tauranga when water meters were installed and were told by that council there wouldn’t be charges for water. Soon after, guess what, they started to charge for the volume of water a household used.

We moved to Auckland where our water was separated from the rates bill. Even though rates remained about the same, we had an additional $60-plus water bill every month. We were a two-person household and were not home during the day, so our water use was low. How much would a family with a few kids have to pay?

A separate company was set up, allowing the potential sale of an essential service. At one stage in 2005, the Auckland council had a surplus of $60 million overcharged for water and wanted to give it to the landowners. However, it was tenants who paid the water rates bill.

Water is a basic human right yet many cannot afford to pay for their water in Auckland. Too many people in Gisborne struggle as it is.

As Bolivian president Evo Morales said: “Water cannot be a private business because it converts it into a merchandise and thus violates human rights. Water is a resource and should be a public service.” Bolivia renationalised the provision of water after French company Veolia made so much profit, water was unaffordable for many.

Gisborne would do better spending the money directly on improving the provision of safe drinking water instead of paying for expensive water meters.

Mary-Ann de Kort

I would strongly object to any investigation about the use of water meters in Gisborne. However, I have noticed new water meters with bright blue covers have already been installed, belying the statement there is to be an investigation only.

I assume no fiscally responsible council would go to the expense of installing water meters without the intention of covering these costs by charging for the service, aka water. It’s a nonsense to say meters are only for monitoring the use of water. It’s like saying we’ll put in parking meters but you will have free parking. Yeah right.

We lived in Tauranga when water meters were installed and were told by that council there wouldn’t be charges for water. Soon after, guess what, they started to charge for the volume of water a household used.

We moved to Auckland where our water was separated from the rates bill. Even though rates remained about the same, we had an additional $60-plus water bill every month. We were a two-person household and were not home during the day, so our water use was low. How much would a family with a few kids have to pay?

A separate company was set up, allowing the potential sale of an essential service. At one stage in 2005, the Auckland council had a surplus of $60 million overcharged for water and wanted to give it to the landowners. However, it was tenants who paid the water rates bill.

Water is a basic human right yet many cannot afford to pay for their water in Auckland. Too many people in Gisborne struggle as it is.

As Bolivian president Evo Morales said: “Water cannot be a private business because it converts it into a merchandise and thus violates human rights. Water is a resource and should be a public service.” Bolivia renationalised the provision of water after French company Veolia made so much profit, water was unaffordable for many.

Gisborne would do better spending the money directly on improving the provision of safe drinking water instead of paying for expensive water meters.

Mary-Ann de Kort

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