Water wor­ries come to sur­face

Central Otago Mirror - - OPINION -

Dry verges

I have read with in­ter­est the let­ters about ratepay­ers not wa­ter­ing the coun­cil verges. This is of course a silent protest at the coun­cil’s han­dling of the water is­sues. I have al­ways been proud of the tidy gar­dens and verges in Alexan­dra and would like to sup­port the writ­ers protest­ing against coun­cil charges. Fur­ther­more, I would like to ques­tion weather the coun­cil is rep­re­sent­ing the best in­ter­ests of the ratepay­ers or are they fol­low­ing blindly in­struc­tions from Lo­cal Government New Zealand? I be­lieve that the plan is to me­ter the water, as they have done, then bring in water stan­dards, then pri­va­tise the water sup­ply, and then sell it off to the high­est bid­der where a huge profit will be made, sim­i­lar to what has hap­pened to our power!

Stu Mil­lis, Alexan­dra

Coun­cil re­sponse:

I had hoped to stay out of this de­bate for a while but I can­not let Mr Mil­lis away with pro­mot­ing his typ­i­cally out­landish the­o­ries. Your coun­cil has no plans to sell off the district’s water schemes and we are con­stantly push­ing back against need­less Government stan­dards that threaten to cost ratepay­ers more money. Lo­cal Government New Zealand has no say over what we do in Cen­tral Otago, there is no ‘‘con­spir­acy the­ory’’, it’s all about be­ing fair to all ratepay­ers. Re­mem­ber, un­der the new charg­ing sys­tem the ma­jor­ity of ratepay­ers will be paying less for water this year than last year, so what is un­fair about that?

Mayor Tony Lep­per The Lo­cal Government Act 2002 Sec­tion 130(3)(c) states, ‘‘A lo­cal government or­gan­i­sa­tion must . . . not lose con­trol of, sell, or oth­er­wise dis­pose of, the sig­nif­i­cant in­fra­struc­ture nec­es­sary for pro­vid­ing water ser­vices.’’ The Re­source Man­age­ment Act 1991 and re­lated re­gional pol­icy state­ments man­date lo­cal government to man­age lim­ited nat­u­ral re­sources in a sus­tain­able man­ner. Water de­mand man­age­ment strate­gies seek to pre­serve the nat­u­ral re­source and meet the coun­cil’s re­spon­si­bil­ity with re­gard to the ef­fi­cient use of pub­lic funds. Through ed­u­ca­tion and water me­ter­ing, the coun­cil is seek­ing to de­lay im­pend­ing sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture re­quired to meet drink­ing water stan­dards and pro­vide for what has his­tor­i­cally been an ever in­creas­ing de­mand for water. CODC in­fra­struc­ture ser­vices

man­ager Jon Kings­ford

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