National's position has not changed on a water tax or levy, says Opposition Leader Simon Bridges.
“National will not introduce a tax or royalty on commercial water users – outside of a possible levy on water bottlers who export water,” he says.
Dairy News asked if the party’s position on a wider water tax had changed after he told a radio show he was open to a water tax on bottled water.
“Charging for water bottlers who export is a hard issue,” he told Dairy News. “In Government, we were working our way through it. Our water technical advisory group included the issues around export water in their considerations; that was due to report back in November last year.
“National’s view is we are open to charging water bottlers who export, but the policy needs to be developed carefully to ensure it is consistent, fair and workable.
“Water policy can’t be done in isolation; it needs to be considered [in respect of] other big users such as soft drink manufacturers, beer producers, and irrigators and hydro power generators.
“It also is tied up with the complex issue of iwi rights and interest in fresh water. This is a complicated issue which needs to be appropriately considered.”
Bridges had earlier told The AM Showthat if you put a price on water there will be a variety of interest groups, including iwi, taking you to court.
Labour’s proposed 2c/1000L levy on commercial use was canned when the party did a deal with NZ First to form the government. NZ First only wanted the levy to apply to bottled water, saying Labour’s plan would result in cabbages costing $18 each, Newshub reported.