An Auckland councillor has accused Watercare of unfairly targeting residents in a low-income area and blaming them for failures in its own infrastructure.
Councillor Shane Henderson from Auckland Council's Waitakere Ward spoke out after a controversial social media post that caused a stink after it appeared to blame locals for a recent sewerage overflow.
In a now-deleted post on social media, Watercare spoke of the suburb's heaving pipes, bemoaning the flushing of items such as wet wipes and tampons.
"It's me again, your wastewater network. To say I'm having a crap day would be an understatement. I'm overflowing with frustration," the post read.
"I had hoped my last letter would have stopped this mess from happening, but clearly not, so get ready for some verbal diarrhoea."
It detailed the grim conditions encountered by Watercare workers who had been dispatched to clean up an overflow on Swanson Rd.
The foul soup included human waste, tampons and "brown rags" that once were wet wipes.
"This muck has overflowed onto a once lush grassy area of Swanson Rd. It has even reached the local creek.
"The grass didn't ask to be drenched in poo and the creek, well, it never asked to be awash with this crap."
Watercare signed off with a plea for locals to think before they flush and save Watercare employees another "crap" day.
A Watercare spokeswoman told Stuff that the overflow had run into a small creek at Rānui Domain on Monday and said a contractor moved swiftly to remove the blockage.
She said the overwhelming majority of blockages in the sewer network were caused by unflushable items going down the drain.
"It costs Watercare $1 million each year to clean these blockages," the spokeswoman told Stuff.
They said that "feedback" had prompted them to pull their original post, which would be "re-jigged" and put back up.
Henderson said there is no evidence that the problem of blocked sewers is any worse in Rānui than the rest of Auckland.
"There's no evidence other communities have also been targeted. Ranui is being unfairly targeted on social media by Watercare here, and it's a disgusting message," Henderson said.
"After all, if there has been overflows in Rānui, it is likely due to poor infrastructure. A message like this is insult to injury for Rānui residents. Many of them have questioned why their low-income area seems to have a lower level of service."
Henderson said he would be making a formal complaint to Watercare for "targeting Rānui with ridicule".
A Watercare spokeswoman told the Herald that the original social media post was "geotargeted" at Rānui because that is where the pipe blockage occurred and said that the organisation had spoken to Councillor Henderson's staff to arrange a meeting.