Green Party will ensure clean, safe drinking water for everyone

The Green Party is today launching a policy that will ensure New Zealanders have access to clean, safe drinking water with measures including making water bottlers and exporters pay for the water they take and sell.

The policy was announced by Co-leader James Shaw today in Nelson, as part of the Green Party’s election campaign launch.

“Forty-five thousand New Zealanders – the equivalent population of Nelson – have to put up with faecal contamination in their drinking water at least once a year, and some communities have to boil their water every single day to make sure it’s clean enough to drink,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

At the same time, water bottling companies are taking the purest, cleanest water out from under our feet. They bottle it and sell it and pay practically nothing for the resource. New Zealanders are more and more aware of what an injustice this is.

“New Zealanders shouldn’t have to worry about whether the water coming from their taps is safe to drink, or whether there’s enough of it, or that water bottlers are getting the cleanest water.

“We will put an immediate 10c/litre levy on sales or exports of bottled still and sparkling water, to ensure that companies who profit from sales of our cleanest water are paying for that privilege.

“We’ll protect drinking water sources from the activities that pollute them with pathogens, sediment, run-off, and nitrates.

“We’ll reinstate funding to smaller communities and marae who struggle to pay for water treatment infrastructure, safe drinking water planning, and technical help, so that everyone in every corner of New Zealand has access to clean, drinkable water.

“Water bottling and exporting isn’t the only sector profiting from the use of water. In government, we’ll develop a fair way to charge all commercial water users, something that the National Government has avoided responsibility for for the entire time its been in government. We’ll do this through a process involving nationwide meetings and hui with all interested people and organisations.

“We start from the position that water should be protect, te Tiriti o Waitangi should be honoured, and commercial water users should pay their fair share. It will be up to tangata whenua to decide exactly how to engage in the conversation and influence its outcomes; we expect tangata whenua will play a critical role.

“This is just the first policy we’ll launch to clean up our water as we approach the election. The Green Party will be the champions for our rivers and lakes when we’re in government.

“Before the Havelock North outbreak last year, most New Zealanders would have assumed the water coming from their own taps was clean and safe, but we know that’s not the case. The Green Party has the solutions to ensure we all have safe water to drink,” said Mr Shaw.