Christchurch City Council’s plan to sell 100 per cent of its infrastructure company, City Care, is “foolish in the extreme”, says Murray Horton, convenor of the group Keep Our Assets (KOA)
“For a city that is undergoing a $46 billion rebuild, this is exactly the wrong time to be flogging off its core infrastructure company.
“People from all shades of opinion agree that the guts of local government responsibility are things like roads, footpaths, water and sewerage – the very things that City Care exists to build, repair and service.
“It is absolutely essential that the people of Christchurch own and control what used to be the City Council’s Works Department”
Passing public assets and/or services to private owners will lead to staff cuts, price hikes and quality decline, Murray says, pointing to Serco the private prison company running Mt Eden prison as an example of what happens when private companies get involved in public enterprises.
KOA expects that asset sales will become an issue for the 2016 local body election. Murray says that no city councillor had a mandate to sell “our assets.”
Murray suggests that the motivation driving this move is ideological, and not financial, and that quake rebuild costs are providing a convenient excuse for a classic example of “disaster capitalism and asset grabbing.”
If the sale of City Care does not worry you, look out, as Red Bus could be next on the auction block with likely fare increases and route cuts as a consequence.
Source: This post makes creative use of a media release by Keep Our Assets. For further information visit www.koa.org.nz