The Alliance is 100 percent opposed to the creeping privatisation of local facilities, especially water, that is being promoted by Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.
Alliance Economic Development Spokesperson Quentin Findlay says that Mr Hide was unsuccessfully trying to conceal the threat of water privatization under the Local Government Amendment Act.
“Rodney can’t hide the fact that private business concerns are going to have the power to turn off the taps for a considerable period of time under the amendments to the Local Body Act.”
Mr Findlay said that the new Act was a “Trojan Horse” that handed multinational companies like the Suez Company and Veolia Environment S.A. access into a New Zealand “water market.”
“Experience around the world shows once private companies are involved in water provision, costs incurred by the taxpayer actually increase. In England, where privatization had occurred, tariffs had increased by 47% in nine years.”
Mr Findlay says the Alliance Party did not want private-public partnerships in water.
“Basic infrastructure such as water and electricity should be in public ownership, administered for the public good by democratically elected public bodies. There should be no private profit from public facilities.”
Local Government New Zealand had noted that some local bodies accepted the public-private partnership model as they were not able to extend or repair existing infrastructure.
Mr Findlay said that while such a concern was understandable, the problem could be overcome very easily.
“Simply, the state could maintain an infrastructure organisation which would undertake infrastructure repair or upgrades such as maintaining, replacing or extending water pipes in areas where local bodies had funding or manpower issues. Such a body would be similar to the old Ministry of Works.”
The Alliance would be prepared to break contracts with private firms and take basic infrastructure such as water back into public ownership.