The Proposed “Water Overuse” Charges

and the questions need Council to answers.

14 June 2021

To the Mayor and Councillors

Christchurch City Council

Proposed “Water Overuse” Charges

As you will know from our submission on the long-term plan, Keep Our Assets (KOA) is strongly opposed to the suggested charges for “excess” water use. We see this proposal as a stepping stone to full volumetric charging for water which has a profound negative impact on those on the lowest incomes as shown in this recent story from Radio New Zealand

We attempted to find out from the Christchurch City Council the impact of the proposed water charges on tenants and families on low incomes, as well as the social and economic impact of Christchurch losing its “Garden City” label. We mentioned this in our oral submission and expressed disappointment we were unable to share any information on this with Councillors at that time.

Our Official Information Act request with seven questions was sent on 6 April. We received a response on 6 May which apologised that our request was “not acknowledged and now overdue”. We finally received a response on 18 May – well after the statutory timeframe – which included a partial answer to the first two questions and advised that the information requested in Questions three to seven could not be provided as it would require extensive work from Council staff. We were therefore invited to limit the scope of our request to enable it to be processed.

We have not sent in an amended request because any answers would come too late to be considered by Council before a decision is required to be made.

This is deeply disappointing. It appears to us that Council has not improved its access to information even after being heavily criticised for this in the last few years. It appears to regard OIA requests as a nuisance rather than a citizen’s right in a democracy.

BEFORE the Council can vote in favour of any proposal to implement a “water overuse” charge we believe Councillors should be aware of the impact of the proposed charges on the issues we raised in our OIA request (copied below)

We therefore urge Councillors to vote against the proposed excess water charges.

Best wishes,


Murray Horton

Keep Our Assets Convenor

The questions KOA sent to the Council on 6 April for answers.

~> Details of the numbers of properties within each Council ward who will pay the proposed additional water charges for water “overuse” 

~> Details showing the percentage of such properties in each ward in terms of the  total number of “overusing” properties. 


~> Details showing the relationship between those properties which would attract the proposed additional water charges and those properties which have received a garden award provided by the Beautifying Christchurch Association. 
~> Details of the impact of the proposed additional charge on the size of families in affected properties which would attract the additional water charges. 
~> Details of the impact of the proposed additional Council water charges on properties where tenants and families on low incomes reside.  
~> Details of the impact of the proposed additional Council water charges on properties where residents are growing vegetables to feed families and the wards these properties are located in.


Details of any assessment done on the economic impact to the city of loss of tourism (both local and international) if Christchurch loses its reputation as the “garden city”.


MayorsMessages <>

Tue, Jun 15, 4:32 PM

to MayorsMessages, me

Murray Horton



Keep Our Assets-Canterbury

Box 2258, Christchurch 8140


Wraparound Service Required Must Be Provided By Otautahi Community Housing Trust

KOA letter to Mayor and Councillors  

23th June 2021

Dear Mayor and Councillors,


The stated policy of OCHT that it is simply a landlord which rents out low cost housing to homeless and impoverished beneficiaries is wrong in today's world!   ("'Society has changed, and we are a landlord. We are not a social service', Kearney says" - Press, 1/5/21, ).


The Trust is an asset of this city which seriously fails to meet the ordinary social needs of its tenants, thus exacerbating the difficulties of their personal situations. 


Every week the media reports insensitive treatment by the Trust to its tenants. A recent glaring example is the wanton destruction of a garden carefully cultivated by a tenant. There have been two murders  (so far this year)  in Trust rentals..


Poverty should not mean that tenants are not entitled to feel and be safe.


The herding of people into huge complexes, eg the one on Brougham Street is barbaric!   Such places become hothouses of antisocial behaviour. Many tenants have, and suffer from complex personal needs. Such accomodation heightens their feeling of isolation as well as the dysfunctional behaviour of some of their near neighbours causes them to live in fear.

The Trust must from now on create and develop  an environment where the tenants receive the support  and services which assists them to thrive rather than many of them cowering in misery every waking moment of their life in an OCHT rental

The Trust must look at other models of social housing which operate in Christchurch and provide  a wraparound service to its tenants.  The Press (22/5/21) described two local non-profit social housing  providers -Vision West and Housing First Christchurch - which provide this.  They offer practical and social help to their tenants as well as long term tenancy.


Other support may include, if needed, tackling addictive personality traits, training education, employment and learning new skills.


Key workers from these organisations handle small case loads of 10 to 15 clients They offer tenants trained and sustained support rather than handing them over to Government social agencies. Such one-on-one relationships are led by their tenant's choice.


The article also named and described overseas examples of similar wraparound services.

Those Councillors who are Board members of OCHT must, (strongly encouraged by the other Councillors), demand that the wraparound model of service to tenants commence immediately!


The Trust's out-of-date, uncaring and inappropriate management and rent collecting policy only, must cease!


Murray Horton



Keep Our Assets-Canterbury

Box 2258, Christchurch 8140


KOA calls for Christchurch Mayor to reveal donors to her 2016 election campaign

 We are deeply disappointed the Serious Fraud Office has closed its investigation into Lianne Dalziel’s 2019 election campaign expenses saying they can find no evidence of criminal intent.

 We do not think Dalziel’s explanation of her failure to disclose the donors to her 2019 campaign election was credible. Donors over $1500 are required to be disclosed.

For such an experienced politician to claim she did not know the law and deferred to her late husband is not acceptable. Her explanation should have been tested in court via a prosecution.

As things stand now the citizens of Christchurch still do not know the identities of the donors to Dalziel’s 2016 campaign and the Mayor, in good faith, should release this information now.

Politicians have a long history of skirting the law
In 2016 she used the same method to hide the identity of her big donors: an auction where the total raised was disclosed but not the identity of those who paid more than $1500 above the market value of the items auctioned.

Local and central government politicians have a long history of skirting the law to hide their big donors from the public.

We need this information now in the interest of openness and transparency.

We have no way to hold politicians to account for their conflicts of interest if we do not know who their big money backers are.

We want to see the law changed so that voters in local and central government elections are required to reveal their big donors BEFORE people go to the polls as happened in Wellington before the votes were cast in their 2019 mayoral contest.

Alternative Aotearoa



Designing A Peoples Future

The video of the full nine hours of Saturdays Alternative Aotearoa seminar here.

Over the next couple of weeks transcripts of all the seasons will be made available as will videos  broken down into session segments.   The full list of sessions and speakers is here.

If you want to join us in  building a better, people centred Aotearoa, join our contact list by emailing us 

Other Resources

a) Final Report

b) Alternative Aotearoa The Presentations

Full Video and text (by presenter and session)

c) Report to Political Parties