As a guide to voters, let us evaluate all water policy out for 2017:

On TV3’s The Nation, #NationNZ 12 August 2017, Green leader James Shaw acknowledged that Labour and TOP were now campaigning for water charges ‘as the Greens had always done’. So, drilling down into each of these policy platforms..

Labour propose volumetric rural charging (agriculture, horticulture and water bottlers) and TOP propose that water consents become tradeable – a new market commodity. The latter has long been recommended by the Sustainable Business Council – see sbc.org.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/99419/A-Best-Use-Solution-for-NZs-Water-Problems, of 2008.

Rogernomics lives on in the drive for commodified water, in that former Minister of Revenue, Customs, Works and Development and Associate Minister for State‑Owned Enterprises and Finance, and then SBC.org.nz Chief Executive, Peter Neilson administered the above research report: “The Business Council proposal applies a market-based mechanism to the pool of water made available for taking. The intention is to achieve better sharing of a limited resource among commercial uses, helping ensure water and contaminant discharge entitlements go to the highest value uses.” p.28

“A royalty on the commercial consumption of water will assist with the cost of keeping our water clean. Households and councils will not pay any water royalty” ~ labour.org.nz/water

Note that this all follows the longer-term Green drive for a market-based solution to water resource depletion. Currently:

“The Green Party will put an immediate 10 cent/litre levy on water bottling and exports. Revenue will go to mana whenua and the wider community through local councils. Local councils will be expected to use it to clean up waterways, and protect drinking water sources and infrastructure.
In government we will develop a new way of allocating and pricing all commercial uses of water, based on shared values of protecting fresh water, honouring te Tiriti o Waitangi, and upholding mana whenua rights. This will involve nationwide meetings and hui to involve all New Zealanders…
New water bottling consents will be banned until we have the regulation in place to ensure priority is given to good supplies of clean drinking water for all New Zealanders.”
~ greens.org.nz/policy/environment-policies/protecting-drinking-water

The Opportunities Party “will protect people’s access to water for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Beyond those requirements water can only be used for commercial purposes if they are environmentally and socially sustainable.
Consent owners get priority to use a certain proportion of the water available for commercial use. However, they must pay the market price for any water used. If any available water isn’t taken up by consent holders it would be offered to non-consent holders at the market price. The price will be set by a tender and will ensure that water goes to the best economic use. Existing consent holders will keep their entitlement (though paying the market price for water) but in the future consents will be auctioned.
The income from the auctioning of consents and from the per litre charge will (after administrative costs) be used to establish regional Nature Improvement Funds (NIFs) which will allow Regional Councils to invest in a wide range of environmentally beneficial projects.” ~ top.org.nz/top9

The main question is, are non-market solutions available and actually better? This is so much more than a philosophical question. Stifling debate, are the L-G parties now right of National over water?

SOW comment: “If ownership of water is possible – [and] the status quo is it’s not owned by anybody – but if it’s ownership is going to be managed at all and profits are going to be made from quantified water, then tangata whenua have to be considered” ~ Council decides bottling Waihou River requires iwi consent Newshub 17Aug2017 ~ A new course is required, of establishing natural and human rights in water, for biodiversity, justice and basic survival. #NewZealand #water decisions in tumult, we say regarding this topical event;

https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/95984894/nz-election-2017-going-beyond-environmental-slogans 28 August 2017





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