On Thursday, 17 June 2010, the Wellington City Council Strategy and Policy Committee met to finalise Council's sub-mission on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill.
Radio New Zealand's response this morning was misleading to say the least in that it stated that Wellington City Council had backed down on water privatisation through public pressure. It was one of the more misleading news items that I have ever heard.
Council was not changing its policy but was making a weasel worded submission on the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill. Regarding the issue of privatisation, Wellington City has for some time entered into a 25 year contract to have sewage treatment managed, with an automatic right of renewal. That's fifty years and, as far as the profit takers are concerned, it's (privatised) done and dusted. What Council submitted on was the 35 year contract proposal in the Bill, saying that it would not support that length of time. It supports up to 15 years. Cr John Morrison mumbled that to be consistent 15 years should have been opposed also. He was correct but as Council had already entered into a long term contract it was disingenuous to say the least.
Mr Warwick Taylor from the Residents Coalition urged the committee not to make a Council submission as there had not been a full consultation of community organisations, as did Mr Tom Law from the Federation of Progressive Associations, who blasted the Council for failing to consult any community organisations.
The Residents Coalition submitted that the term privatisation was important to understand and that water management under Capacity fell within the scope of privatisation. At the beginning of this triennium I told the Council that I would remind the public and Council of the deal that was struck over Capacity.
At the start of the 2007 triennial a remuneration package deal was struck at Council. At that time Council voted to increase Capacity directors' fees by fifty percent. That was done at the beginning of the financial crisis when many banks and finance houses were failing and bonuses were still being paid.
Capacity had failed to deliver its savings target and had not met its Key Performance Indicators but the fifty percent increase to directors still went ahead. It is time that the ratepayers were reminded of those events.
THE CAPACITY PAY DEAL AND OTHER LATES AND TRUSTS
How Councillors voted to increase their pay on LATES AND TRUSTS
The substantive motion recommendation 2 was put.
Voting for: Mayor Prendergast, Councillors Ahipene-Mercer, Best, Cook, Coughlan, Foster, Gill, McKinnon, Morrison, Wade-Brown and Wain.
Voting against: Councillor Goulden, Pannett, Pepperell and Ritchie. Majority Vote: 11:4
This is how the losses are socialised under Mayor Prendergast and her A team at Wellington City Council. It is how the profit takers have been let in with two elected councillors removed and replaced by two selected directors. The profit takers are in the form of private business contractors in water management and delivery. Privatisation was done and dusted when water management went into the hands of the profit takers through Capacity, the water management company for Lower Hutt and Wellington.