18 Nov 2010

Water bill passes into law

4:50 pm on 18 November 2010

Parliamentary debate has been dominated by accusations that changes to local government law, passed on Thursday, will lead to the privatisation of the water supply.

The Local Government Act 2002 Amendment allows local authorities to extend contracts for the provision of water services from 15 to 35 years.

The Government says this will give councils and the private sector more flexibility.

But the Opposition says it is privatisation by stealth and a triumph for right wing politics.

The Green Party says it is a triumph for right-wing politics, and National MPs are dreaming if they do not think it amounts to privatisation.

The Labour Party says a new provision that allows companies to buy council assets if they are important to a contract shows there is no doubt it is allowing the privatisation of assets.

And the Maori Party noted that no one in the community, including Maori, is required to be consulted before councils let contracts to the private sector.

The bill passed with the support of National, Act and United Future's Peter Dunne.