Phil Goff’s slow throttling of Aucklanders on low incomes


When “user-pays” water charges were proposed for Auckland back in the day, their biggest cheerleader was Labour MP Phil Goff.

Goff used the clever, cynical argument that people on low incomes should not have to subsidise filling swimming pools in Remuera. It sounded plausible but Goff knew it would result in shifting the balance of council costs away from the rich and onto tenants and families on the lowest incomes.

It’s has been the same with the rest of Goff’s political career. This is the same person who had previously, as part of the Lange/Douglas government, championed the introduction of GST and forcing students borrowing to pay tertiary education fees previously paid by the community as a whole.

He has worked hard for the wealthy throughout his political career.

And he’s still at it.

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In the last few days Auckland Council has not only decided on large rate increases (5% now and an average 3.5% per year into the future) but even bigger water charges which will more than double the cost of water over the next 10 years.

And it is those on the lowest incomes, who already pay a much higher proportion of their incomes in rates and council charges than anyone else, who will shoulder the heaviest burden.

Goff will say that people who face genuine hardship can apply to a piddling pool of money if they really can’t pay their water bills but we all know that’s just a political veneer covering an ugly reality.

As Labour MP, and now as Auckland mayor, Goff has had his hands around the throats of our lowest-income citizens, slowly choking the life out of them. He’s still squeezing.

If you feel some sympathy for Phil Goff, don’t bother, he has a knighthood coming.


  1. Well you nailed this one Mr. Minto. Pretty unfair to donkeys though – how dare you associate such sensitive, intelligent and courageous animals with Phil Goff.

  2. It can be argued that Watercare has been undercharging for the last decade because their revenue hasn’t covered essential infrastructure projects. We pay about $40 per month for water in Auckland and I could reduce it if I could be bothered with some recycling. Is that too much for first class drinking water and sewage treatment? I think not.
    But wait! There’s more! The latest initiatives from central government will greatly reduce the number of water authorities so that small town NZ gets their aging systems maintained. Just you watch: This will mean that city dwellers will be paying for capital projects outside their city. It’s likely that Watercare will take over all of Northland’s water reticulation and Aucklanders will be paying to clean up the Hokianga.

    • As you say this government are taking water and sewage away from councils and doing away with local hospital boards. This will lead to control authorities set up by the government chaired by ex Labour MPs like Goff AK and Daziel CH. and soon Mallard will be looking for a cosy role.

      • There are a few moving parts in this Trevor:

        We are seeing the results of decades of underspending on capital infrastructure in New Zealand. Last I heard we were a quarter of a trillion behind on infrastructure projects. The reasons are historic. Decades of maladministration at local level (e.g. councils that prioritize ‘wind wands’ over sewerage) plus a dysfunctional RMA process since then has put a handbrake on construction and made that investment inefficient and sometimes misdirected.

        In many rural areas there has been virtually nil maintenance and reinvestment in water and wastewater for 30 years. This is because of a general loss of rates revenue by councils. There are two reasons for this. Firstly the migration of people to the cities means that these towns are slowly dying. Secondly in regions where there is Maori tribal land, councils are unable to extract rates from people living on that land because they have no recourse to recover the debt (they cannot put liens on tribal land). The result is northland where about half the rates are unpaid and the Hokianga is full of sewage because the council doesn’t have the money to maintain the treatment works.
        So the proposed changes hope to paper over this problem by replicating the Watercare model into the provinces (Not because Watercare is particularly wonderful, but because it’s the least worst option). This will take decision making and revenue out of the hands of feckless councils, which may be a good thing, but it won’t fix the core governance issues.

  3. Yup, never did like the guy. Speaks with the same forked tongue the Douglas cabal did of which he was an eager part of. The neo liberal fish and chips brigade, – can a leopard change its spots? He’s certainly proven that it cant. I’m surprised he’s lasted this long,…and that the people still keep voting for the little right wing fool.

    Or should I say the little Blairite third way fool. There , that’s more PC for the tribal Labourites.

    At least I softened it a bit ,.. for their sakes only.

  4. And the Water Bills! With all this annual rain been dumped every year. Why can’t they manage the “catchment” better? I don’t know who’s worse, the NZ Blackcraps or Water(Dont)care?

    Watercare raises the cost of water will rise by $80 per household each for nearly a decade. Household water costs will go up by 7 per cent on 1 July, by the same amount next July, and then by 9.5 per cent each year until 2029.

    Think of this as a “congestion” charge. If you’re poor and can’t afford it, go live somewhere else!

    • Good for you, everyone should be putting in their own Water Tanks & collecting the thousands of litres that pour from the Skies in Auckland for free but this fucking Neoliberal asshole Phil Goff & his Watercare crooks will still charge you water bills despite you having your own tank water? They charge you for metering water into your property but then they charge you waste water charges for the water going out! Its a complete racket. They should encourage the use of composting & Incinerator toilets to cut out the need for expensive Sewer infrastructure & encourage Water collection using Tanks but they won’t because like most Monopolies they want you hooked up to their exorbitant money profiteering from their Water Privatisation!

  5. Almost have to agree with John. But that’s because in my opinion Goff is a slimy little fuck who couldn’t make it in Parliament but needed somehow to feed from the public trough. I know this is just my opinion but Judith is more preferable because her lies aren’t supported by the sleazy smile that’s always painted on Goffs face. Having said that Auckland is a horrific place to make sense of local Government and Goff seems to be a survivor. The poor are fucked.

    • In my opinion Collins face has corruption written all over it as well as a face that has been hit by a truck, greasy slimebag.

  6. Ratepayers pay more rates while overseas businesses and the rich get millions of freebies.

    Water is big business to those who control it. NZ neoliberals love to give it away for free or cheap especially to overseas businesses (like power, Rio Tinto) while driving up the utility prices for it’s people.

    We are heading in this direction…

    The scandal of millions of Americans deprived of running water

    What happens to locals as the councils and governments give the water away to private firms…

    The fight to stop Nestlé from taking America’s water to sell in plastic bottles

    Coca-Cola sucking wells dry in indigenous Mexican town – forcing residents to buy bottled water
    Bottling plant ‘consumes more than a million litres of water a day’

    Coca-Cola Charged With Groundwater Depletion and Pollution in India

    Chinese company approved to run water mining operation in drought-stricken Queensland

    IN NZ

    Consent granted for Chinese water bottling giant to purchase Otakiri Spring

    Chinese water bottling plant’s proposal to take water from Whakatane aquifer ‘sustainable’, court hears

    Canterbury water on way to Chinese market as bottling plant starts production

    Whakatane locals outraged on government’s encouragement of Chinese water bottling investment

    NZ Government Secretly Funded Water Bottling Companies

    Green Party members revolt over water bottling decision

  7. Who has had the control and power in our local councils, and really the same could be said about our nationally three yearly elected governments. And with this power comes inaction cause they want to be re-elected, right. And no owns the water but our council under their bylaws can issue permits to overseas companies to take water and bottle it. Yet no one owns the water cause the water like the airwaves and the foreshore belongs to all of us. ( bullshit) Can you seem the irony in this especially now that water has become the new liquid gold and all of a sudden we have water issues.

  8. ‘Friend of the rich, rark!!’ Goff. Always only worked on a thin level. Wouldn’t be surprised if he was religious like the guy with the bouffant hair.


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