Water debate continues


Labour left themselves open when they announced their water tax policy when they didn’t say how much would be charged. They said that would be decided at a later date (after the election) by an ‘expert group’.

As a result many claims and assertions and concerns have been made.

Stuff: Grapegrower blasts Labour water policy

Water royalties could put the $1.6 billion industry at risk, says Marlborough grower.

Some claims have been ridiculous.David Parker was interviewed on Q+A yesterday for clarification.

Michelle Boag made some claims on the Q+A panel that seemed to be serious miscalculations

The great water debate with our panelists Michelle Boag and Matt McCarten.

“Each apple would cost $2.80” says Michelle Boag.

That would mean you’d have a million litres to do a cabbage says Matt McCarten.

1 News: ‘They’d have to be the thirstiest cabbages on the planet’ – David Parker hits back at Horticulture NZ over water tax

Mr Parker said on TVNZ’s Q+A this morning that Labour’s new water tax would likely be 1 or 2 cents per thousand litres of water meaning the cost to the consumer “would be less than a quarter of a cent”.

It comes after Horticulture New Zealand claimed Labour “hadn’t done their homework on the issue of water tax” and it would be “like a speed camera on healthy food.”

Mr Parker said the statement was a “level of scaremongering that would make Donald Trump blush” and said Labour’s new water tax would raise “about $100 million across the whole of the country each year.”

When asked why he wouldn’t raise the tax on large foreign corporations like Coca-cola Mr Parker said they already pay “a dollar per thousand litres” and “we’re not going to charge them twice.”

Labour have a history of half baked policy announcements and leave themselves open to exaggerated criticisms.

UPDATE: Stats Chat looks at actual costs in Meters and litres

So a 1c or 2c per cubic metre water charge would come out to less than a cent per litre of milk.

I found an estimate that, it takes 237L of water to produce 1kg of cabbage, ie, less than a quarter of a cubic metre, so less than 1 cent.

Sounds a lot more believable.


  1. Blazer

     /  14th August 2017

    National may shoot themselves in the foot with this one.Especially with ‘$28 cabbages Boag ‘leading the charge.They are trying the scare and confusion tactic,instead of accepting the public have valid concerns.The fact that many farmers are already paying for water seems to have escaped them and their cheer leaders.

  2. Corky

     /  14th August 2017

    Like I have said, It was just a matter of time. Good to see National getting stuck into this issue. The Treaty claim aspect will be political gold come debate time.

    A simple proposition: If Labour can stuffs up the concept of water belonging to everyone, imagine what’ll happen with the country’s chequebook.

    • Blazer

       /  14th August 2017

      Maori are more united and ambivalent on this one than you may like to…think.

  3. alloytoo

     /  14th August 2017

    Exempting Coke and other bottlers demonstrates how little thought they’ve given to this matter.

    • Blazer

       /  14th August 2017

      dig deeper..Coke are already…paying.

      • alloytoo

         /  14th August 2017

        If Coke were already paying we wouldn’t be having this debate.

        Coke may well pay for the delivery of water through council infrastructure on a volumetric basis (just like all Aucklanders do to watercare), but they’re not paying Labour’s water tax.

  4. Blazer

     /  14th August 2017

    ‘the chairman of the New Zealand Maori Council, Sir Edward Taihakurei Durie, said if legislation was put through to give effect to Labour policy, it need not open up existing treaty settlements.

    “It is not a free lunch for Maori, but something that would give employment to our young people.

    “We are pretty much in line with what the Labour Party is saying except we would apply it to all commercial users.”

    Domestic users should not pay.

    • Corky

       /  14th August 2017

      Geez, understand one thing..there is no pan Maori voice. The Maori Council and The Maori King are names only.

      Maori have one thing in common with Yanks…..just as each American state is a self contained unit, so is each Maori tribe.

      • Brown

         /  14th August 2017

        “It is not a free lunch for Maori, but something that would give employment to our young people.”

        Like the fisheries quota?

        • Corky

           /  14th August 2017

          Exactly….especially the quota they outsourced to foreign concerns.

  5. PDB

     /  14th August 2017

    Labour should take a hit with what this means for Maori settlements…..not much thought has gone into the flow on effects of such a policy. Add in the Greens that want treaty settlements to never be full and final and we have a real disaster-in-waiting govt on the left.

    Herald: “Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is warning that Labour’s water taxes could force existing full-and-final Treaty of Waitangi settlements to be opened for renegotiation with iwi.

    He said the policy overturned accepted policy of successive Labour and National Governments of the past 25 years that no one owned the water.

    Governments applying a tax on water was an assertion of Crown ownership “and then that gives rise to the counter assertion that Maori own water”.

    “They are dicing with death, quite frankly,” he told the Herald.

    “It opens a complete Pandora’s Box. I’d like to know [if] it is Labour Party policy that, after all the work we’ve done, both political parties over 25 years, are they proposing to re-open treaty settlements so that this matter can be looked at?

    “That totally goes against the fundamental principle that has been bought into by 99 per cent of the New Zealand population,” he said.

    “Yes, we have to address these historical issues. We want settlements that are just and are durable and are full and are final.”


  6. adamsmith1922

     /  14th August 2017

    I think this issue is one where Labour has left themselves open to questioning. It would not be unreasonable for them to answer Irrigation NZ’s questions as I suggest here https://adamsmith.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/how-about-some-answers-labour/
    Parker may be correct, Boag not sure, but the lack of hard detail is very disturbing.

    • Blazer

       /  14th August 2017

      as they said,further consultation will be made.Consultation…something National…abhor.

      • PDB

         /  14th August 2017

        You’re a stuck record – ‘consultation’ is code for ‘we don’t actually know the cost as our policy is a brain-fart, what we do know is farmers, growers & consumers wont like it & the consultation group will be heavily stacked in favour of the tax being higher rather than lower’.

  7. Water should not be taxed, it must remain free at source and we should be able to freely use the water that falls on our own roof, our own property.
    We should only be charged if we put the rainwater we catch and use back into the catchments polluted, including the underground catchments.

    Water should not be exported. It belongs to New Zealand and is as essential to New Zealand as it’s air and earth. If it is to be exported, it should expensive as it is coming from the publicly owned areas of New Zealand, the national parks and more than 300mls beneath the soil.
    How much water could be sent from one part of the world to another without upsetting the natural eco systems of an area. New Zealand evolved in this seemingly water abundant environment. Better the importing countries clean up their own act or start desalinating seawater because the polluting costs (fossil fuels) of packaging and transporting water around the world have not been factored in.
    I will not be voting a party that taxes water or supports the exporting of water.

  8. Stats Chat has look at the likely cost of Labour’s proposed water taxes – and it is the order of a cent or two on milk or cabbages.


    • Blazer

       /  14th August 2017

      nice work Pete…..you can lead the Natz to this font….but they won’t drink the crystal clear….unadulterated 100% pure….facts.

  9. Blazer

     /  15th August 2017

    After all Nationals screaming and ranting about $28 cabbages,$2.80 apples,the price of wine,milk..etc…the Herald report on the realty…’With 5 billion litres of irrigation water allocated across the economy the total impost would be $100m. International studies suggest a litre of milk and a litre of wine need about 1000 litres of water to produce. So that would add 2c to the cost of producing a litre of milk and just 1.3c to that bottle of wine.

    A cabbage would cost just 0.6c more to produce’……that folks is how this Govt works.So now they are diverting to Maori claims as the issue.Hopeless.

    • PDB

       /  15th August 2017

      Labour in panic control have suddenly thrown out a guess as to what the rate will be – prior to that all the opposition had to go on was the rate Labour gave for bottled water. So whose fault is that? And what about the ‘consultation’ you keep banging on about when Labour can now give an estimate before that consultation takes place.

      Forget the price of cabbages, the water tax will affect farming and related industries utilizing irrigation;

      Herald: “According to Irrigation NZ, the average, irrigated New Zealand farm uses around 4000 cubic metres of water per hectare.

      The typical farm size is around 100 hectares, meaning they would use 400,000 cubic metres of water a year. If Labour’s tax was set at 2c, then the average farm would pay additional tax of around $8000 a year.

      Conclusion: Partly fictional. Large farms (600 hectares or more) would pay close to $50,000, but it would not be the norm. However, an extra $8000 in tax could be a huge amount for a marginally viable farm”.

      Ardern has also now made the nonsense statement that charging royalties doesn’t indicate ownership and means Maori wont make claims. The Maori party prove that to be rubbish;

      Herald: “”Charging royalties does not assume ownership,” Ardern said.

      Last night Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said Labour had “put the cart before the horse” by proposing a royalty for commercial water use.

      “It’s simply wrong to charge for something you don’t own and Labour’s unilateral decision to deny hapu, iwi and Maori of their rights and interests to water should be a stark reminder to our people that history will repeat itself under a Labour-led government,” Flavell said.”

      • Blazer

         /  15th August 2017

        make up your mind….you and the screaming skulls demanded a number…now..Parker gave you one and your scaremongering was shown up.

        • PDB

           /  15th August 2017

          According to you they couldn’t give a number because they had said it would be set in ‘consultation’ with affected parties after the election……….hypocrite much?

          • Blazer

             /  15th August 2017

            no they consulted to appease you and the other screamers….stated the amount..and still you are not happy.

            • PDB

               /  15th August 2017

              They stated a rough amount because they realized their policy was a dog. It still could be anything after so-called ‘consultation’.

  10. Blazer

     /  15th August 2017

    Flavell….’It’s simply wrong to charge for something you don’t own ‘….plenty of examples that defy that..logic.