Watercare Bills Up or Balls Up?


In August this year I received my first assessed water bill for my property in Henderson. The bill was about four times what I thought it should be, based on past usage. After my complaint the original bill was changed from $105.99 to $37.05. My attempts to get a logical, rational explanation were in vain. Indeed, after asking questions I received a threatening letter from Russell McVeagh accusing me of intimidating Watercare staff and furthermore threatening to go to the Police. Eventually the accusations by Russell McVeagh were retracted along with an apology from the partner who had made them.

See earlier post on this blog site


and Herald article



Then came my bills for September and October.

My assessed bill for September was $71.48.

My bill based on an actual reading for October was $15.64.

Once again, the assessment was high, giving Watercare an effective interest-free loan on the use of my money.

On 8 November I rang Watercare to sort the matter out. I was told I would have to take the matter up with Michael Graham who was not there. I was told he would ring me. He didn’t. Mathew Telfer rang me. I sent some questions to Mathew and was told I would get a response within 5 working days. I didn’t.


Below is my complaint to Mark Ford, CEO of Watercare, dated 16 November.
I will keep you posted on the outcome.


“Dear Sir,

The assessed water bill I received with an invoice date of 6 August 2012 for my Henderson property was clearly too high. There was an assessment of 1000 litres per day for July 2012 whereas the actual usage for the previous 8 months (247 days) was 279 litres per day.

Following my complaint this was reassessed at 241 litres per day from 4 July 2012 to 2 August 2012. I asked for details of calculation and assurance such glaring errors would not recur. Instead I got a threatening legal letter.

My most recent two bills for the same property are again showing glaring errors. On 8 November I rang 442 2222 at 2.15 pm to seek an ex[planation. I spoke to Nisi and Myra and was told I would have to deal with Michael Graham. I asked to speak to Michael Graham but was told he was not there. I was told he would ring me but by 4.30 pm, having received no call, I rang again and spoke to Sarah who told me he was not back yet. I told her if I did not hear from him by 5 pm I would be complaining to you.

At 5 pm Mathew Telfer rang me and I sent him an email with two questions:

  1. Could you please advise me when there will be some regular readings for 9 Ascot Avenue.
  2. Could you please explain why last month’s bill was so high.

On 9 November at 1.50 pm Mr Telfer sent me an email saying “We have received your request and will respond within five working days.”

At 5.55 pm today, having heard nothing more from Mathew Telfer, I rang him to see what was going on. He told me he had until Monday or Tuesday next week to give me a response. I told him he had promised me “5 working days”. He said he had 10 working days to give a response.

This is the second problem I have had with the same property. I am unimpressed by the inaccuracy of information from Watercare and the dismissive approach to problems adopted by your staff.

Yours sincerely,

Gary Osborne”





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2 Responses to Watercare Bills Up or Balls Up?

  1. Studio West says:

    The sooner one of the television station take on board councils, water care, and accountability they will continue to run amuck. What an amazing concept for a new TV show, councils, how many people could tell very enlightening stories about our councils and how they operate. An idea I will send out there. Someone has to do something, our councils are a law unto themselves.

  2. ivor says:

    gary, this is nothing compared to my dealings with the company (and mathew) who are now threatening my tenants as well as tresspassing. All because they cannot send a bill to me that i have said i would (despite everything) would pay. A residential house i have in Auckland had an assessed reading for november that was suggestive that i was using 4000 (four thousand) lts per DAY! – an unoccupied house no less!!! pathetic – they and their new policies are out of line. they need more than media attention –

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