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Nature proves it has its own economic clout

6 June 2006

Nature proves it has its own economic clout

Water offers major benefits to the economy and society without the need to go down the path of tradable water rights, Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei says.

Mrs Turei was welcoming the release of a Department of Conservation study that showed the Otago region benefited by some $136 million from pure water derived from the Te Papanui Conservation Park catchment area.

"At a time when residents of the Waitati and Warrington townships near Dunedin need to be boiling their water until at least 2010 to remove contaminants, this news of the economic benefits associated with pure, unpolluted water is welcome, and very telling.

"There are those who think the economic value of water overwhelmingly rests on its potential for exploitation for hydro or irrigation purposes.

"This evidence suggests otherwise. The study estimates that the park's contribution to Dunedin's water supply is about $93 million, which dwarfs the $31 million supplied from this same source for hydro-electricity purposes, as well as the $12 million that the park provides for irrigation of Taieri farmland.

"The assumption that we need to treat nature as a commodity and to devise systems to maximise that exploitation is misplaced," Mrs Turei says.

"In many communities around New Zealand, evidence is now emerging that nature's relationship with our society can be as economically valuable, or even more valuable, when nature is enabled to function in its pure, relatively unfettered state."


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