Gareth should stick to killing cats

Gareth Morgan should stick to killing cats, but somehow I bet he’s never killed a single one and his campaign is just like everything else he does and is just slogans.

He’s decided to wade into the water debate. As usual starts off good then he goes off on a Maori rant.

Around New Zealand today there will be protests about fresh water. And rightly so, our once wonderful rivers and lakes are now degraded, particularly in lowland areas. To add insult to injury, businesses are allowed to take what little pure water is left in our aquifers and export it for profit. The only cost they face is getting the consent.

The man is an idiot. He makes it sound like the only clean water left is being taken offshore.   

The reality is somewhat different as Nick Smith points out to another retard asking questions about water.

At question time, Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty asked Environment Minister Nick Smith whether he would impose a moratorium.

“No. Bottled water exports last year totalled nine million litres of New Zealand’s annual water resource of 500 trillion litres,” Dr Smith said.

Morgan continues:

Given how precious this resource is, why don’t we charge for it? The simple answer is that charging for water would trigger a Treaty claim, and the Government wants to avoid this at all costs. It is a myopic perspective and one inflicting unnecessary harm on New Zealanders.

The Government has studiously stuck to the line that nobody owns fresh water. This is a technical legal argument; of course some people have a use right (a form of property right) over fresh water. Any resource consent allows the holder to use water in the manner described in the consent. Legally this isn’t a full property right because there is an expiry date built into the resource consent. However, in practice most resource consents are expected to roll over unless there is a good reason not to. As a result the value of the consent is usually built into the price of the land that the consent is tied to.

The Government is keen to stick to the status quo where nobody owns fresh water. Any sort of charge or resource rental on water bottlers (or other commercial water users) would imply that there were in fact property rights over fresh water, which would raise the question of who owned it.

What Gareth Morgan forgets is that the free right to water is what underpins a lot of our agricultural and horticultural industry. The economics of the industry changes based on charges for water.

As Nick Smith says the amounts of bottled water pale into insignificance.

 

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