World watch – Thursday

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WorldWatch2

For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

14 Comments

  1. Geoffrey

     /  November 29, 2017

    Last night I had dinner at a flash restaurant in Auckland. I was thoroughly impressed with the meal and the service, including the Maitre D’s thoughtful suggestion that we might like some fresh water between our wines. At the end of the meal I happened to notice that the 1 litre bottle of water that we were sold had been imported from Australia – one of the the driest subcontinents on the planet.
    We in NZ have so much water that we allow tanker loads per hour to flood into our side of the Tasman. We even happily give it to the Chinese.
    What rationale of balance-of-trade, short term profit and non-greenness allows such a nonsense to happen? More importantly, when will we wake up to the fact that water is a vital international commodity?
    Water will define our relevance on the world stage in the very near future. Wasting it now, failing to have any effective means of protecting it and at the same time buying it from another country, is dumb. In fact it is more than dumb; it is suicidal.
    Just thought I would mention it…

    • Blazer

       /  November 29, 2017

      dead right Geoffrey…liquid gold.

    • Pickled Possum

       /  November 30, 2017

      I have a Chef friend who says he has to buy imported pork
      because it is cheaper than Nz Pork.
      maybe we NZ’ers can’t afford to drink our own water.
      .
      Money, so they say
      Is the root of all evil today.
      But if you ask for a raise it’s no surprise that they’re
      giving none away.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  November 30, 2017

        Even PF got the quote wrong…people leave off the all important qualifier:

        “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
        Timothy 6:10

        Money in and of itself is neither good not bad, it is simply a means to an end.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  November 30, 2017

      Cheer up Geoffrey. Global warming means more water will be evaporated from the sea and deposited as rain. Install a big tank and you’ll be just fine. You’ll be able to take your own water to the restaurant in a reusable plastic bottle.

      • Geoffrey

         /  November 30, 2017

        Thanks Alan. You missed the point, or perhaps I did not make it well enough. I was not suggesting that our water will dry up; quite to the contrary. If we do not value it sufficiently to protect it and to dispense it wisely, somebody else will.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 30, 2017

          I’m not at all clear what your point is. Obviously water in a little bottle in a supermarket has a value that is 99% packaging, distribution, marketing and retailing and 1% water. Where it comes from is a minor factor in costs. That is the rational answer to your concern and example.

          As for protecting it, who owns the water that falls on your property? Or runs onto it from a neighbouring one? Answer that question and we might get closer to a rational allocation and pricing strategy.

          • Geoffrey

             /  November 30, 2017

            I think you have demonstrated that, because the cost of the water contained in a retail package is a small fraction of the cost of the product to the consumer, you do not value it. But, you are not alone. Most New Zealanders (with the exception of some who wish to own it and sell it) do not appreciate how valuable water is. In my view it can only increase in value with the passage of time. This will require quite some deliberation and preparation to ensure that we, nationally, secure and remain in control of the use and distribution of a what is a vital international resource. Absent this, we will lose control of, and have to play catch-up, with those who want our water.

            The foreign owned bottling plant in (Wairarapa?) has secured a foot-hold in NZ from which it can extract old, pure, priceless artesian water from our aquifers for the cost of the plant. As far as I am aware, there is no real or enforceable limit on how much or when the water is extracted. The water is essentially valueless, i.e., free . Daft: we now have to play catch-up so that we can in some way regain control and limit the access of the first entrepreneur off the blocks. That that enterprise happens to represent the interests of a major power will not make the exercise any easier.

            It is not that difficult to see water rivaling the value of timber and dairy exports in the not-too-distant future. I would much rather see us selling it as a managed process than to watch others taking it.

            As to the second part of your post. In so-far-as the Crown represents we, the people, the Crown owns the water. The Crown must, as far as is possible therefore, control the use, distribution and disposal of water on and beneath New Zealand. This has been the premise on which farming and other major water users have been granted usage “rights” throughout our history. It is why an up-hill farmer cannot deprive a down-stream enterprise of water without an appropriate consent. It is why a householder cannot dig a drainage ditch the would cause his neighbour to flood, without consent. The Crown dictates how the water is managed. Any other construct would lead to chaos and rorting on a monumental scale. Current feel-good flirting with assigning ownership of water to Iwi commercial interests is, in my view, foolhardy. If granted, trying to undo such short-sighted stupidity would be about as hard as telling China to piss off.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 30, 2017

              If the Crown owns it rational market allocation is doomed. It will be misvalued, misallocated and misused like everything else the Crown owns.

              Just watch it happen.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  November 30, 2017

      The beauty of our water supplies is that they are self replenishing.

      We won’t be counting down to the last drop flowing into the ocean.

      Restaurants selling inflated price bottled water that is the equal of what comes out of the tap is purely a reflection of the maxim “there’s a sucker born every minute” no matter where it is sourced from.

      • Blazer

         /  November 30, 2017

        The beauty of our water supplies is that they are self replenishing’…where abouts aren’t they..as a matter of interest?

  2. Geoffrey

     /  November 30, 2017

    Thanks Blazer. The nearly total hush is clear evidence of the widespread failure of folk to understand the importance of this issue.