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Free Water Claim An Insult

Free' Water Claim An Insult

Meridian Energy's claim that farmers were after `free' water is as insulting as it is inaccurate, and it is wrong for Meridian CEO Dr Keith Turner to imply that irrigators want `free' water to enrich themselves, ACT New Zealand Rural Affairs Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said today.

"Public resource - like water - are regularly allocated to individuals or companies," Mr Eckhoff said.

"For example: while the fishing industry is allocated a quota of a publicly-owned resource, this in no way gives it exclusive use of the fish resource.

"Further, it is ironic for Dr Turner to claim that his company has an exclusive right to the region's water - Meridian claims complete ownership of the water resource, but will deny all liability when their water floods private property.

"What is needed before water is finally allocated is an independent cost benefit analysis, based on a pricing mechanism to determine the `highest' use of this public resource, which will give New Zealand the greatest return on the use of this increasingly valuable resource.

"It is not a matter of irrigation versus power generation, but what use the water can be put to give New Zealand as a whole its greatest rate of return," Mr Eckhoff said.

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