Using water for commercial gain is a privilege that should be paid for, the Green Party said today.
“We recognise that the issue of charging for water is complex and that everyone needs to be heard on the issue,” said Green Party water and primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage.
“Our policy is to put an interim charge of 10c per litre on all water for bottling and export, and to consult with New Zealanders on how other commercial uses are best charged for, and the revenue allocated and used.
“We all have responsibilities for looking after water, so any charging regime would involve wide consultation and recognise that Māori have significant rights to water under Article 2 of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
“Figures released by farm consultant Alison Dewes and economist Peter Fraser show that the dairy sector uses the equivalent amount of water annually as 60 million people. We can do better than that.
“We need to fix the problems of over-allocation and ensure flows in rivers and streams are healthy, and that water takes from aquifers are sustainable. We need to recognise that a warming climate will increase droughts in coming years.
“The Green Party will increase funding for the Sustainable Farming Fund and create a Transformational Farming Partnership Fund to help change the way we farm so that we grow and process our food and fibre products in a more resilient and sustainable way.
“The world is crying out for sustainably-produced goods, and New Zealand farmers can lead in this area,” said Ms Sage.