Advocates of a property rights model for water will be lobbying for some time yet, based on statements delivered in the House today.
Associate Local Government Minister John Carter continued government attempts to distance the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill from the spectre of water privatisation.
Labour MP Phil Twyford tried to extract an admission from Mr Carter that allowing councils to contract out water services for up to 35 years was tantamount to water privatisation.
Mr Carter denied that a proposal existed to privatise water anywhere in New Zealand.
“We are talking about private-public partnerships for the management of water. Councils will always own the water supply, that’s what the law requires to have happen,” he said.
“There is no way that that’s privatising the actual asset.”
The bill passed first reading on Tuesday night.