National’s Waikato team of David Bennett and Tim van der Molen have been spreading the party word at a series of farmer meetings around the region.
“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.
Rural News queried 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 Rural 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 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 alongside other big users such as soft drink manufacturers, beer production, and major users like irrigation and hydro generation.
“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 Show if you put a price on water there will be a variety of interest groups, including iwi, taking you to court.