Nobody pays for water, so why are politicians and Media making you think otherwise?

Making farmers pay for the water they use is unfair, because nobody else pays for the water they use.

Federated Farmers is repeating, nobody in New Zealand pays for water. No household, no farm, no hairdresser … not even Coca Cola.

All we pay for in New Zealand is the right to access the water and to cover the cost of delivery of the water. But not the water.

“In this election campaign, politicians are attempting to brainwash Kiwis into thinking farmers are getting something for free that others pay for. They aren’t.

“Water. Nobody pays for it,” Federated Farmers water spokesperson Chris Allen says.

Some families and business connected to town supply may pay a per litre charge for the reticulation and treatment of their water, others pay through rates.

Farmers pay for the cost of getting the water to where they need it as well.

“This is why farmers feel so targeted by the water and environmental taxes proposed by opposition parties in the election campaign. This is why we’ve seen so many farmers be outspoken about the effect that the policies will have on their families.

“This is not a royalty on users of water, or even commercial users of water, this is a tax on farmers who irrigate. The policy quite explicitly excludes large commercial users of water who are within the boundaries of a town or city.

“Multinational companies such as Coca Cola and international breweries will be exempt while farming families pay. Is it any wonder that farmers feel targeted?”

The rhetoric floating around at the moment doesn’t acknowledge the significant progress farmers are making on freshwater management.

“We are owning our role in addressing the impact that population, and farming, has had on water quality. We live here too.

“in the last decade, significant time, resources and money have gone into innovative and extensive environmental solutions, and this will continue,” Chris says.

Farmers have collectively spent more than a billion dollars on reducing their impact on the environment in a range of ways. These include fencing streams, planting riparian strips and improving the efficiencies of their water use, effluent management and emissions output.

“A tax on irrigated water will be a kick in the guts for healthy food production.”

To me, this is a failure of media to call Bullshit on the politicians.   People pay for delivery.  People pay for disposal.  People pay for making it drinkable.   But the water itself is not charged for.

It started with an envy tax on bottlers that are sucking it from artesian wells and selling it overseas.  People can’t stand the idea they make money and they want to hurt them financially.

But then, we needed consistency.  If we are going to charge them, we have to charge other water users too.  Very quickly, they rounded on irrigators.  The people that make our food.  The food that we don’t want to make more expensive.

And still nobody said “stop this nonsense”.  Oh no.  Now we need a REASON to take money for the water.  Oh, why not say it’s to clean up their dirty rivers?

Never mind that 80% of the food producing farmers are not even adding to the pollution.  They can be the bad guys.

Then someone had a good idea – hey, if we charge for water, those bloody Maoris will want to claim ownership.  We better front-foot that by giving them HALF the money we charge for water use.

Hilariously, the likes of Coca Cola will escape any and all of these proposed taxes, as they take water from the town supply.  Water that they are not paying for either, but they do pay a small fee for delivery, just like anyone else on the Auckland water supply.

Just last week the Maori party decided that if water was going to be charged for, then it had to be owned by someone.  And, if people didn’t mind, under the Waitangi contract, they clearly own half of it.

It’s like it’s a game of chicken and we’re waiting for someone to give in.   In the meantime it’s turned into this election’s biggest Cluserwhatsits.

Let’s hope sanity prevails.



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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.