Banks Reveals New Water Charges


John Banks has revealed his water pricing plan saying he has a “visionary policy” that would apply after 2o12, if he’s elected supermayor.

He says he’s offering a new start on wastewater charges from 2012.

Banks proposes a number of plans that include fixed and volumetric charges or a blend of both.

“For the first time Aucklanders will have a choice on the basis that they pay for wastewater. If you can buy your electricity and mobile phone minutes on a plan that best suits your needs, you should be able to do the same with wastewater.”

He says this will help keep charges low, reward conservation and promote sustainability. He says he does not intend to continue with the Metrowater policy.

“The new council offers an opportunity to embrace best practice rather than the old way of doing things. One size does not fit all.”

He will  require that Watercare pass on to water users the substantial savings that were identified by the Royal Commission from the amalgamation of the region’s water and wastewater assets.

But does his “predominantly volumetric plan” mean people with bigger families will be punished by paying more?

“If you have a large family, especially teenagers, you should probably choose a fixed wastewater plan.  If your next door neighbour is an elderly couple they will probably be better off on a volumetric basis. When your family grows up and leaves home you will probably choose to switch to a volumetric plan too.”

He says coverage in the media assumed that Auckland City’s Metrowater pricing would be applied across the region.

“This approach is flawed as it fails to take into account the substantial savings that the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance indicated are available through the amalgamation of the region’s water and wastewater assets.  I will require that Watercare pass these savings back to water users through reduced charges.”

As for less advantaged households, he says he will require Watercare to introduce a Customer Ombudsman who will act as an advocate for the provision of financial assistance to families under extreme hardship.

More questions:

Will I be facing larger water and wastewater bills while you sort out the new pricing plans?

Banks: The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance identified immediate operating cost savings that would be achieved through the amalgamation of the region’s water reticulation assets.  I will require these savings to be passed on to all water users from 1 July 2011 onwards.  Up until 30 June 2011 you will continue to pay your water and wastewater charges as you do at the moment.

Is this simply a user pays system?

Banks:Water is already on a user pays system.  At present each city sets its wastewater charges at a level to recover all the costs of providing wastewater services to their community.  This practice will continue on a region-wide basis from 2012 onwards, except for the first time Aucklanders will be able to choose a plan that best meets their individual needs.

What about Metrowater‟s policy of an annual fixed charged of $81 and user-pays for wastewater for 75 per cent of the water supplied?

Banks: I do not intend to continue with the Metrowater policy.

Does this policy still reflect your comment on the Elections 2010 website “John won‟t force water reticulation onto those communities that prize their rural/provincial character and don‟t want this.”

Banks:Rural communities who provide for their own drinking water by collecting roof water or using artesian bores will continue to do so if they so choose.  Also, those communities that discharge their sewage to septic tanks will continue to do so for as long as that discharge is sustainable without adverse environmental effects.

How will I be better off under your pricing plans for wastewater than what I currently pay?

Banks: In 2011/12 you should benefit from lower water charges as a result of the savings identified by the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance.  Your wastewater charging plan will not change until July 2012 when, for the first time, you will have the opportunity to choose a plan that best meets your requirements.




  1. Paul Quinlan says:

    Hmmm, no mention of Papakura, where our water is contracted out for another 20-25 or so years. He says Auckland wide, but does that inclued us?


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