Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Water Charges – A Political And Policy Can Of Worms

Water Charges – A Political And Policy Can Of Worms

INSIGHTS ABOUT THE NEWS - Public and political pressure for a charge on bottled water exports is continuing to mount, however Ministers are still determined to kick the issue out beyond the election.

A Newshub-Reid Research poll showed remarkable levels of support for a royalty. Asked if exporters should pay a royalty on the water so taxpayers get some benefit, 87% said yes, 9% no and 4% said they didn't know. Support for such a charge was across the political spectrum.

The question is simplistic, but it underlines the strong resentment at water being used as commodity at virtually no cost to the exporter. The poll also shows why so many political parties are keen to tap into that support with Labour, the Greens and NZ First all in favour of some type of royalty/charging system.

Ministers make out the issue is more complex. Bottled water exporters could be singled out, but they say that would be inconsistent with other policies. They also raised the question whether a water export royalty would open a can of worms. Any charge would be a political and legal admission the Crown owns water and this would inevitably lead to a claim from iwi.

It would also raise questions on why only water exporters should pay and should a charge also apply to soft-drink makers, breweries and other manufacturing processes. It would be logical to also apply charges to farming, irrigation, public drinking water supplies and hydro power.

But do the two issues - a royalty on bottling water and general charging for water - have to be argued together? Funds raised from water bottlers could be assigned to a national water fund, which could be used to reduce rates. Iwi might also benefit from a portion of the royalties paid on bottling water.

General charging for water would send a price signal about water use and certainly create more sensible allocation. However, it would also be a painful process and it is hard to see such a move getting as wide public support as for a royalty on water exports.

National is not keen for such a discussion now. It will wait until the Land and Water Forum advisory group reports back in November. Whoever is in power then will have some very difficult decisions to make.

! If you are not already a subscriber to Political Pulse, please sign up here for your personal copy

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Not Easy: Gordon Campbell On The Greens’ Ongoing Problems

Hard to treat the Greens’ belated decision to stand a candidate in Ohariu as being anything other than a desperation move, by a party whose own leadership is evidently concerned about its chances of survival...

A few months ago, the Greens felt able to forego that role in Ohariu in order to help a beleaguered Labour Party get its candidate Greg O’Connor across the line, and knock Peter Dunne out of the parliamentary frame. More>>

 

Closing The Gap: Ardern Rules Out Income Tax Rise

After earlier commitments by Jacinda Ardern to do something about inequality and poverty, this new position on income tax seems an about face. To do something significant about inequality requires increases in income for those at the bottom and decreases for those at the top... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On DHB Deficits And Free Trade

Currently the world is looking on aghast at the Trump administration’s plans to slash Obamacare, mainly in order to finance massive tax changes that will deliver most of their gains to the wealthy. Lives will be lost in the trade-off. Millions of Americans stand to lose access to the healthcare they need... More>>

Greens' Response: Slum-Like Rentals Exposed In Renting Review

“...The grim findings of the review are a wakeup call about the true state of rentals in this country. Too many renters are festering in slum-like conditions under the thumb of landlords who have largely unchecked powers and ignore tenants’ complaints when it suits them.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And Times Of Peter Dunne

The unkind might talk of sinking ships, others could be more reminded of a loaded revolver left on the desk by his Cabinet colleagues as they closed the door behind them, now that the polls in Ohariu had confirmed he was no longer of much use to National. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Campaign Launch

One of the key motifs of Ardern’s speech was her repeated use of the phrase – “Now, what?” Cleverly, that looks like being Labour’s response to National’s ‘steady as it goes’ warning against not putting the economic ‘gains’ at risk. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood: Social Welfare, Explained

Speaking as someone who has seen better times and nowadays mostly operates by being really annoying and humiliating to deal with, I have some fellow feeling with the current system, so I’ll take this chance to set a few things straight.. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election