The Alliance Party has criticized a decision by New Zealand delegates at the United Nations to abstain from a vote to have safe drinking water and sanitation recognized as a basic human right.
Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray says that fortunately for the 884 million people worldwide who don’t have access to safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion who lack access to basic sanitation, 122 countries did vote in favour of the resolution.
“As a result, no thanks to New Zealand’s delegation, the right to water and sanitation is now recognized by the United Nations as a human right.”
Ms Murray says the New Zealand representative’s excuse that “the text had been tabled before the delegation had had an opportunity to consider its provisions” was difficult to fathom.
“It is a very simple concept. People need water and adequate sanitation to live. Anything that is a necessity of life should be a basic human right. ”
In introducing the resolution the Bolivian representative stated that some 1.5 million children under five years old died each year from water and sanitation related diseases.
Ms Murray says the Alliance Party wonders if the New Zealand decision was influenced by the privatization agenda for water that is becoming apparent in New Zealand.
“If everyone is entitled as of right to water, it will restrict profiteering by global corporations taking control of our water under National’s privatization agenda and free trade deals.”
That the USA abstained from the vote was no doubt another major factor, as it seems as far as the National Government is concerned, where the USA goes New Zealand follows.
For more information, contact Alliance Party co-leader Kay Murray on 0211672843