Rudman waters down the hysteria

November 10th, 2009 at 3:21 pm by David Farrar

At times reminds me of Chicken Little. He runs about a lot claiming the sky is falling in over the Auckland Super City. Absolutely everything is to do with . I think he’d call more money for Libraries as , as Libraries buy books from the private sector!

Anyway has an interesting column today, which waters down some of the hysteria from Twyford. Rudman is from the left also, but isn’t a politician. Rudman writes:

Also dumped was a proposal to amend the Local Government Act to permit “divestment of council [ and wastewater] supplies to the private sector”. The Cabinet decided instead on a minor change, extending the time limit on any contract a council made with a private supplier or operator, from the present maximum of 15 years to 35 years.

Mr Hide received another bloodied nose over his proposals on the expansion of Watercare Services into the sole provider of all drinking and wastewater services to the new Auckland Super City.

He wanted to scrap legislative requirements that Watercare pay no dividend and that it “manage its business efficiently with a view to maintaining prices for water and wastewater services at the minimum levels.”

He argued to the Cabinet that “the Auckland Council, as the sole shareholder, will be best placed to direct Watercare, through its constitution and statement of intent, in how water and wastewater services are to be priced to achieve its broader objectives.”

His “sleepy” Cabinet colleagues managed to stay awake long enough to vote both of these proposals down.

Now some of you, like me, might actually have wished Rodney got more of his proposals through.

The point of the post though is to highlight the gay between Twyford’s hysteria and the reality. Rudman continues:

The Government’s attempt to keep the money we pay in our water bills going on water services is commendable.

People more savvy on these matters than me also say the prohibition on dividends and profit-taking will be a dampener on any foreigner contemplating a bid on this $5 billion asset. That’s if it ever gets to that, and only extremists on the edges of the Act Party and water campaigners who enjoy scaring themselves to sleep each night, seem to think this is a possibility.

Scaring themselves to sleep and boring everyone else to sleep I think.

Sure, the Cabinet has endorsed Mr Hides’ proposal that come 2015, the Auckland Council should be allowed “to determine … the governance arrangements and asset ownership for the delivery of water services.” I’m relaxed about this. While I see no reason to even bring the issue up in 2015, if the UMR poll, Labour’s Auckland issues spokesman, Phil Twyford is waving about is accurate, it’s a non-issue. The poll shows 85 per cent of Aucklander oppose privatisation of their water assets.

Mr Hide’s argument is that once the new Auckland council is bedded in, it should be allowed to decide on issues such as the governance of asset holdings in Watercare.

At least Wellington is letting us have a say for once. We should treat that as a breakthrough and a precedent, not a threat.

Phil constantly advocates that Wellington should be running Auckland more.

6 Responses to “Rudman waters down the hysteria”

  1. bearhunter (837 comments) says:

    “The point of the post though is to highlight the gay between Twyford’s hysteria and the reality.”

    Chris Carter was there too? Sorry, I’ll get me coat.

    I’m quite happy with how cabinet have dealt with Rodders’ plans and I expect he’ll be getting some more scrutiny in future.

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  2. Countess (157 comments) says:

    So setting up the organisations as companies has never been a prelude to privatisation ?

    And why would you want to ditch s88 of the Local Government Act which , surprise surprise, REQUIRES consultation before privatising or contracting out council services.

    As for waving the flag on Aucklanders deciding Auckland issues, Hide has run rings around any idea of the Supercity being decided by Aucklanders.

    Then you know all about the hysteria option, having flogged that horse last year

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  3. kiwirights (48 comments) says:

    David, Rudman’s talking about Penny Bright, not Phil Twyford. Penny Bright is an Auckland phenomenon, to the point that she seems to think that actually relieving the suffering of the masses is probably overall a bad thing because it reduces their revolutionary zeal.

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  4. Gooner (929 comments) says:

    Countess, councils in Auckland currently supply retail water through companies – that’s never been argued is a prelude to privatisation.

    Section 88 is being “ditched” because the CCO’s SOI will allow the consultation as will the elections every three years.

    So while you’re talking of rings being run around people, look at yourself first.

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  5. James (1,322 comments) says:

    Why are pollies allowed to run coercive monopolies an deny the private sector from running these things?Its the Public sector that needs to justify its role in them ….not the private…which is just all of us individuals.

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  6. Willie_Escaped (29 comments) says:

    There will be no change to the way Auckland is run unless Rodney manages to get fiscal and goverenance discipline installed as a matter of law.

    Reformers in the National party (I like making jokes) need to back some kind of variation of the Rates Cap Bill and/or the removal of the power of general competance.

    Anything else is Tory Tampering around the edges.

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