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Lining Up Labour’s Water Policy

"Parallel Parker" Needs to Do A Better Job of Lining Up Labour’s Water Policy

Federated Farmers wants Labour to honour the commitment it made to only look at charging overseas-owned water bottlers and to permanently park its discriminatory tax on water that will divide communities and undermine regional economies.

On 21 June this year, then Labour leader Andrew Little told the Federated Farmers national conference, in front of the media, that they were not going to tax water across the board - just look at water bottling. When news reports on this started to come out, Labour changed its tune.

At the beginning of this week Mr Parker was telling us it would apply to "large commercial users", but now, and the end of the week, we hear it won’t apply to the very large companies putting water in bottled products right now in central Auckland.

Then we heard the water tax will only apply to those that take water directly from rivers, lakes or aquifers - but not town supplies.

"Confusion obviously reigns in the Labour camp, and across the country, as they scramble to appease one section of the community by making up policy on the fly, and catch some votes along the way," Feds water spokesperson Chris Allen says.

"We’ve challenged Labour to ‘show us the numbers’, and we are still waiting to hear just how much will be taxed, from whom, and where the money will ultimately go.

"All we know is that they want to suck $500 million out of the rural economy. That would require a tax of 9 cents per 1000 litres, which is almost ten times more than the last figure they quoted.

"We support the views of Massey University agribusiness expert, Dr James Lockhart, who has said Labour’s water policy is problematic on several fronts and that there are better ways to make New Zealand’s waterways cleaner, without punishing specific sectors and damaging property rights," Chris says.

"Federated Farmers will support any political party’s policies provided they are sensible, practical and affordable - taxing water meets not one of these thresholds.

"Please David, just park this one."


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