This is farken disgusting, neo liberal bullshit putting people before profits run amuck. Our love and condolences go out to the aiga of Folole Muliaga.Haere e te Whaia, Haere ki te Po, Haere i te ara whanui a Tane, Ki o Tupuna, ki a ratou ma i haere a mua i a koe, Ki te Kainga Tuturu,
Haere, Haere.

Date: 30 May 2007
Auckland : The bill that was owed by the Mangere family who lost
their mother yesterday after Mercury Energy cut their power was just $299.

A family spokesperson has also cleared Pacifcia Radio News to name the
mother of four...

She was Folole Muliaga...

The mother was on an oxygen machine but collapsed and died yesterday
afternoon after Mercury cut the power.

Brenden Sheehan says the family were making arrangements to pay off
the $299 bill and were set to pay off the rest today.

He says even when Victim support got involved Mercury Energy still
wouldn't budge. (listen)


And there's concern today, too, about the jump in water rates....

Food Service union rep Fala Haulangi has been part of the campaign to
get Metrowater to give Auckland families a reprieve from their water

Haulangi says like power, water is an essential service and the latest
increase will hurt many families, who're already struggling. (listen)


An Auckland mother of four died yesterday when her electrically-operated oxygen machine was cut off because of an unpaid power bill.

Now the family of the woman, in her mid-40s, is demanding a full investigation into the tragic incident

The woman had been recently released from hospital after an ongoing illness, and was dependent on the machine which was installed in her Mangere home.

Power company Mercury Energy shut off power to the property at 2pm, and shortly afterwards the woman became faint, had difficulty breathing, and collapsed.

An ambulance was called but officers were unable to revive the woman, and she was pronounced dead within two hours of the power being cut.

A family spokesman, Brendan Sheehan, told Radio NZ that when a Mercury Energy representative arrived to disconnect the electricity, the woman and her son told the person that she relied on the oxygen machine to stay alive.

"They came to the house and they were aware of the circumstances when (the power) was cut off," he said.

He said he didn't know how much the unpaid bill had been.

The family were "hard-working immigrants"; the woman had been unable to work because of her illness, and her husband had cut back his hours in order to care for her.

Mercury Energy spokesman James Moulder said there was a policy in place to deal with issues of medical need and hardship.

"Once we've been notified that someone is dependent on electricity-powered medical support, we...request evidence from a medical practitioner and then we move into another process which puts them onto different payment terms."

He said the Mercury representative should have told the woman and her son to ring the company and speak to someone about the situation, before the power was shut off.

Mercury was still trying to ascertain whether this happened.

Mr Moulder said the company was also working on restoring electricity to the house, where the grieving family had spent a night without power.

Mr Moulder said the company had not yet identified the person who went to the house yesterday and shut off the power.

Mercury contracted out the work to independent firms and it was working with its partners to find out who had shut off the power.

"I'm confident that if our people had been spoken to and we had been made aware of the situation...then this wouldn't have occurred.

"At seven o'clock in the morning we're still trying to ascertain the full facts of what happened yesterday."

Mr Moulder said he expected more information to come to light today.

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