19 Nov 2010

Hide defends bill on private sector involvement in water supply

5:25 pm on 19 November 2010

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide is defending a law that reduces restrictions on the use of private companies to deliver council services such as water.

Changes to the Local Government Act were passed under urgency on Thursday.

Opposition parties claim the law allows for the privatisation of water services and assets, and means councils don't have to consult.

But Mr Hide says a council struggling to provide water supplies, can already enter into a public-private partnership for 15 years.

He says the changes extend that to 35 years, which better reflects the life of the asset, and which councils had been asking for.

Mr Hide says the law does not privatise water. He describes the law as a giant step towards more transparent and accountable local government.