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The cost of water – spluttering on $170

Not many of you will know this but I used to be a reasonable tennis player in my younger days, playing A Grade Inter-club Level in the Waikato.
 |  Trevor Ammundsen  |  ,

Like many others, I used to perform well at a sport, but now age and physical decay has taken its toll and these days I can just limp around the court and daydream about the glory days of yore.

We all need to keep active however, so it was with delight that I received an invitation to have a game at a tennis club over the hill in Coromandel town. They do not have many members and needed to make up a foursome, so I was summonsed.

I was playing with three fellows of similar age and girth, but with a bit more movement than myself. I discovered there were things I used to take for granted which were now not possible for me; things such as running for drop shots and keeping your shorts on when stretching for an overhead smash.

As the first set progressed, the others could see I was reaching over heating point, so at the sets conclusion, it was suggested we take a small break.

Making our way inside the club rooms, one gent took up a position beside the kitchen bench and asked if I would like a quarter of water. “Yes please,” I responded and quizzed what was meant by, “a quarter of water”. He responded that it was a quarter of a litre, and they sold water in either quarters or full litres. “Sold?” I quizzed while sipping my glass. Sliding the EFT POS machine across he said “Yes sold, the council’s charges have forced us to do this. That’ll be $170 please”.

That caused me to splutter, wasting about $30 of water while spluttering. The gentleman explained that the TCDC were charging them for water at what worked out to be $677.60 per litre for water, up 10% on the previous year’s charge. He went on to explain that wastewater was even more expensive, up 25% to $953.26 per litre.

I was feeling sorry for the guys so completed my purchase while noting that I should bring my own bottle in future. The cold water was running directly to the bladder however, making me cross my legs and wonder if my bank balance could stand the $240 charge for a quick wee in their toilet.

Thinking about the situation, I asked the guys what the club had done about this, and the response was basically that they tried to communicate with council many times, but the response was to give a small discount, generally smaller than the annual increase, and demand they pay up – not a lot of compassion or common sense there, they felt. I gave it a bit of thought as I sipped my water and gave them two solutions.

The first solution was to take the, “no one is responsible” approach. As they were a Club, they had to have a Secretary. I suggested they all vote for a goat or dog to be the secretary. Could have been a cat, but they are not as reliable.

Having the new secretary in place, they all resign from committee and leave the goat to handle things. Local Authorities have a process for handling such situations and that is to ignore the situation, eventually to stop charging rates to such places. This process is used for land with many owners that are hard to identify and for land owned by churches, because God is slack at answering his (her?) mail also.

The other alternative is to replace the TCDC’s gold plated fluid products with a much more reasonably priced alternative; I suggested beer. A couple of trays of lager would satisfy their rehydration needs and if they were to fill up the cistern with Waikato Draught the wastewater would be under control. The annual savings would be huge for the Club.

This got the guys all excited, so I was spared the torture of another set as they were all arguing about whose goat would make the best secretary. Waving them goodbye, I headed back to paradise happy with the knowledge that in my own little way, I was bringing a little bit of common sense back to our world.

Thought for the day: I’ve come to the conclusion that bureaucracy was invented to test our sanity.

Editor’s note: We decided to publish these figures provided by the said club as they help explain the events outlined in Portal Ponderings