PM's Press Conference 20/03/17: Water everywhere
PM's Press Conference 20/03/17
Monday's Post-Cabinet press conference focused on water, with the Prime Minister fielding questions about the possibility pricing water taken for export.
Mr English said the government was directing their water allocation technical advisory group to include export water in considerations. The group's report on all water allocation issues is expected at the end of this year or the beginning of 2018.
He said it was a longstanding legal position water is free and not owned by anybody – with a permit price for some uses – and it would be a "big shift" to put a price of water. The governments was concerned with water quality and "the best environmental and economic use of our water". He considered water bottling a small part of wide-ranging picture.
Mr English also discussed this week's visit from Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. He said talks would aim to deepen the trade and diplomatic relationships with our second largest trading partner. He didn't know if international maritime issues would be raised but said New Zealand called for a "rules based" approach.
The week Mr English will also give a speech on the government's trade strategy. He said the government was open trade deals, having earlier emphasised the benefits of the NZ/China FTA.
Other topics included Syrian-born New Zealand citizens complaining of being targeted for searches by Customs, the United States' use of diplomatic immunity to protect one of their diplomats, the Primodos pregnancy test pill linked to birth defects in the 1960s and 70s, Fletcher's commercial troubles, policing in Northland, Nicky Hager's soon-to-be-launched new book, and the government's plans for the week in Parliament.