Robust and fair water policy needed in wake of water tax dumping

Robust and fair water policy needed in wake of water tax dumping

24 October 2017

Water New Zealand Chief Executive John Pfahlert says he’s not surprised that the government has dropped its controversial water tax on irrigators but has left a royalty on water bottlers.

However, he says it’s unfortunate that the government has made these policy changes in the absence of a wider, and more important, discussion about water pricing.

“This is clearly a direct response to the public’s anger over perceptions that water bottlers are profiting from free access to a public resource.

“But picking off one group of water users, while not addressing the bigger question of water pricing and value, will not result in good policy.”

He says we need a sustainable long term approach to water management.

Prior to the election, Water New Zealand surveyed almost five thousand New Zealanders and the results showed a majority in favour of water pricing.

“While nine out of ten New Zealanders believed that water bottlers making a profit from taking pristine water should pay a royalty, 77 percent believed that there should be a cost when taking water for agriculture and horticulture despite the outcry from critics during the election campaign.

“It’s interesting that more than half - 59 percent - believed that all users should pay for water.

“It’s clear that water issues will be a big challenge for the government and I would welcome the opportunity for the water sector to be involved in discussions.

“New Zealanders are increasingly concerned about water quality and the effects of climate change on water and our infrastructure. We need a long term sustainable approach to water.”

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