Labour's proposal to impose a water tax on irrigators will lead to more intensive farming, says IrrigationNZ chief executive Andrew Curtis.
“Extra costs from a water tax will inevitably be passed on to consumers, meaning higher prices for food, wine, beer, housing and in many other industries,” he says.
“How could a water tax possibly be implemented in practice given the differences in weather and water use across the country?”
Curtis says the Labour leader’s statement lacks detail.
“So far all that's been made public from Labour is a one page statement - where's the detail about this is going to work?
“It would be a hugely complex administrative nightmare….the majority of irrigation is in the east coast areas - are these communities to be penalised because they live in an area with a drier climate that needs more irrigation?”
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says to help set the royalty on water, in my first hundred days (as PM), she will host a roundtable on water at Parliament, with all affected sectors.
“I will not set a rate until I have met with those who will be affected; this is an issue that we must tackle together.
“Labour believes when water is exported for profit, private companies should also pay a royalty.
“Labour will work with iwi to resolve Treaty water claims in a manner that respects iwi’s mana, and restores the mauri of our rivers and lakes.
“Our river and lakes are a taonga of huge significance to Māori, a favourite place of recreation for New Zealanders. It’s time to restore them for future generations. Let’s do this,” says Ardern.
Curtis says it is interesting to see that hyrdro-electric power users are to be excluded.
“That’s hardly the fair and equitable approach Labour said it wanted to take. Energy companies are the largest extractors of water in New Zealand, barring others from using it, and many of the profits are going overseas.”