24 Jun 2011

Council backs water supply restriction for overdue bills

9:23 am on 24 June 2011

Auckland Council has given the go-ahead for its water company to restrict supplies to customers who refuse to pay their bills.

Watercare Services supplies and directly bills most homes and businesses in Auckland says $42 million in payments are overdue.

The company says threats of restrictions used in the former Manukau City prompted swift payment in 80% of cases.

Councillor Cathy Casey argued, during a debate, that no matter how carefully the move is applied, water is a human right and there are safety risks in restricting it.

But most councillors accepted Watercare's intention to set up a trust to look after those in genuine hardship.