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Survey reveals overwhelming support for water charging


16 August 2017

Nine out of ten New Zealanders believe that there should be a charge for extracting water from the environment for bottled water and similar industries, according to a recent survey by Water New Zealand.

The New Zealand Water Consumer Survey 2017 received nearly 5000 respondents and is the first nationwide examination of New Zealanders’ attitudes to a wide range of issues associated with water.

While the survey revealed that 89 percent of New Zealanders want to see a charge for water bottlers, more than three quarters (77 percent) believe there should be a cost when taking water from the environment for agriculture and horticulture.

Water New Zealand CEO John Pfahlert says the findings make it very clear that New Zealanders strongly believe that private businesses that profit from the use of water should pay for it.

He says that while the overwhelming support for charging water bottlers is understandable and that on the surface this strongly supports Labour’s plans for charging for water, it’s also important that there is wider discussion about water pricing and how to ensure efficient and fair use of our water resources.

The survey also reveals that three in five people (59 percent) believe that all users should pay for taking water from the environment.”

“What’s interesting is that the results are consistent across urban, regional and rural areas.

“The survey shows that New Zealanders are generally in favour of paying for the water they use although it reveals many are unsure of what they currently pay for.

It shows many people (74 percent) already believe they pay for the water they use as well as its delivery.

“This suggests that there is a lack of understanding around water charging. Under current law, local councils can charge only to cover the costs involved in treating, transferring, maintaining and operating water infrastructure.”

The survey was undertaken in May and June this year and covers a wide range of consumer attitudes – from issues around quality and future concerns to service delivery and costs. It was undertaken on behalf of Water New Zealand members to provide better understanding of community attitudes, priorities and perceptions and to help develop comprehensive and sustainable water policy for New Zealand.

Full results will be released at the Water New Zealand Conference in September.