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Letter: Free water – ‘Hatchet the Act’

Monday 29 April 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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Letter: Free water – ‘Hatchet the Act’

Dear Editor, Re ‘Government reneges on free water pledge’.

Yes, our administration is guilty of misdirection. Promises to the people have not been *honourable*.

However, the goal of the Te Mato Vai Project was not improved water supply, it was economic stimulus.

Unlike low-income households, governments can access a near limitless line of credit, by tapping international development funding. Borrowing against future productivity provides the country with a short-term cash injection.

Infrastructure such as ports, bridges, and water treatment and distribution are big-ticket items that the administration and aid partners are ready to clip.

Far from being a monumental failure, on economic terms the $120 million budget blowout means more money in.

Now the (tri)party is over, the people are left with the debt, and funding a utility that is unable to meet basic water needs.

The treatment method is costly and inefficient, yet the priority is another $8m to fast-track user-pays. Meter installers are proliferating, but will not be patching the plumbing.

Leakage from the tank up Tereora hill is enough to sustain wetland taro. Intake sand filters are dumping treated water - along with chemical sediment - into Rarotonga’s stream network. The proposed sludge dumpsite is sheer folly.

Change will not come from drawing attention to such faults. It’s too easy, there are too many faults.

*Te* fix is reigning-in the authority.

As a State-Owned Enterprise, with licence to extract funds from the public, To Tatou Vai seem above the law. In response, public attention must swing to legislation.

If tethered to a fixed annual budget, TTV will be compelled to operate in an efficient, financially-prudent manner.

In service to the people, our MPs have the power to amend the law. They can take a hatchet to the To Tatou Vai Act.

Andy Kirkwood

Turangi