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Dr Muriel Newman

Charging for Water

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Last month, during his regular Post Cabinet press conference, Prime Minister Bill English was ‘grilled’ about whether he intends putting a charge on fresh water that is being commercially bottled and exported.

The questions arose as a result of the presentation to Parliament of a petition signed by more than 15,000 people calling on the Government to impose a moratorium on freshwater exports.

The petition was initiated by Ashburton locals, who were concerned that in spite of water restrictions being imposed on their town, the council was planning to sell a block of public land that had consent to bottle and export 40 billion litres of artesian water over a 30 year period, to a Chinese-owned company.

The Prime Minister responded to media questions by saying that as a result of ‘growing public concerns’ about the exporting of bottled water, he was referring the matter to a Technical Advisory Group for advice. 

According to a Cabinet Paper released last year to the NZCPR under the Official Information Act, the Technical Advisory Group had been established by the Government – along with an Allocation Team and a Joint Advisory Group – to develop policy options for the allocation of fresh water. Iwi Leaders had been intimately involved in the process, not only approving the work programme, but appointing their representatives onto each of the advisory groups.

The agreed timetable meant that by the end of last year a range of reform options were to have been presented to Ministers, and this year, Cabinet’s preferred policy options are to be modelled, tested, and refined. Final recommendations for the future of fresh water management are expected to be made to the incoming government by the end of the year.

The last phase of the planned reform process, which is scheduled for next year, includes some limited public consultation, with the final policy to be implemented “through either amendment to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, regulations or legislative change”.

In other words, once an agreement is reached with Iwi Leaders, the Government will consider pushing through major changes to fresh water management in New Zealand by the back door, using a National Policy Statement or regulation – both of which would avoid the democratic Parliamentary process.

By designing a strategy to introduce the race-based control of fresh water using a secret process with no public involvement until 2018 – the Government is clearly hoping to avoid fresh water becoming an election issue.

But back to the Press Conference, where Bill English explained that the issue of charging for the export of water was a complex one: “I can say in our seven years of experience with dealing with water issues, it’s always five times more complicated than you thought. So you wouldn’t want to underestimate how many issues will arise in considering this particular issue. We don’t want to give the public the impression that there’s a simple easy answer because we’ll almost certainly find there isn’t.”

When pressed as to ‘why it’s so hard to charge’ for water, the Prime Minister outlined a range of matters that had to be considered: “who gets to charge, who gets the revenue, what the charge might be, whether you can do it legally without establishing ownership of the water”.

He explained, “New Zealand’s long-held position is that no-one owns the water, and no-one actually pays for water. They pay for consents, they pay for infrastructure, but water itself is free, just as it is for our electricity users and businesses, and households.”

A reporter raised the issue of Maori demands for fresh water: “Do you need to solve the problem of who owns water before you can put a charge in – my understanding is that many Maori just want their interests reflected perhaps in any future royalty, not necessarily a debate about who owns the water.”

In reply, the Prime Minister explained that while “Maori rights and interests” were part of the equation, the “clear legal and Government position is that no-one owns the water.”  

When responding to media questions about what talks the Government has had with the Maori Party on the fresh water claim that is currently being considered by the Waitangi Tribunal, Bill English referred to the fact that the claim goes back to the sale of the electricity companies and a High Court case.

In fact, it was National’s partial privatisation of the State Owned power companies in 2012 that triggered the current raft of Maori claims for freshwater. At the time, the Maori Council’s calls for an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing to stop the sales resulted in a two stage inquiry, with the first stage finding that “Maori had rights and interests in their water bodies for which the closest English equivalent in 1840 was ownership…” and that “…the nature and extent of the proprietary right was the exclusive right to control access to and use of the water while it was in their rohe”.

The second stage of the Tribunal’s inquiry – to work out how Maori should benefit economically from the ‘ownership’ of New Zealand’s fresh water – is presently underway. During initial hearings held late last year, the Maori Council rejected the Government’s stance that no-one owns water, pushing the view that everyone owns the water: “What we’re trying to do in this hearing and by this process is to gain recognition for the fact everybody has an interest in water.”

Maori Council lawyer Donna Hall has previously claimed the Government did not provide adequately for “Maori proprietary water interests”. She explained that while traditionally, that meant a family’s right to access a particular body of water in their tribal area, in a modern sense, “It’s about access, use and partial control”.

In essence, the Maori Council not only wants a price on the commercial use of water – with the proceeds going to local Maori and marae – but they also want Maori to have the first right to all commercial development opportunities, so “other applicants would all be wanting to dance with the tribe.” 

With the future control of the country’s fresh water being determined through secret negotiations between the Government and Iwi Leaders, the public is largely unaware that iwi demands are for the ownership of all Crown owned lake beds and river beds, along with the ‘water columns’. Their ultimate objective is full control of the country’s fresh water resource.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, former Judge and law lecturer Anthony Willy, has been looking into the fraught issue of charging for fresh water and the dangerous motives of Iwi Leaders:

“Lurking behind these physical problems are the demands of the Iwi Leaders Group which seeks ownership of the water which either rises in or flows through their various territorial areas as being a right preserved to them by the Treaty of Waitangi. If a right to charge for the use of such water is created it is unlikely that the various Maori hapu and iwi would be able to use all of the water arising within their areas – clearly what they are really seeking is the right to charge those activities that do use the water thus conferring on these small groups a stranglehold on the New Zealand economy.

“For example the hydroelectric river schemes on the Waikato, the Tongariro, and Waitaki rivers are a bottomless pond of money to the owners of the water. 

“One can no longer dismiss such claims as derisory. Following the passage of the Resource Legislation Amendment Bill 2016 by a single vote, this shadowy group of Iwi leaders has, with a complicit government, already achieved the unthinkable in a Rule of Law country. It has persuaded the National Party, with one outside vote to subvert local body democracy by passing the odious Resource Legislation Amendment Act thereby creating local body electoral separatism based on race. The ultimate prize – control of fresh water resources – is now within their grasp. A charging regime will bring not merely control of the allocation of water to this group but also ownership.”

When Labour was in Government, their fresh water reforms created the impression amongst tribal leaders that the privatisation of water rights was being planned, and they considered that if such a property right was created, they had a claim to it under the Treaty.

This was the approach iwi had taken to successfully gain a $170 million settlement of quota, fishing company shares, and cash, when fishing quotas were created in 1986 as a property right. With the Ministry for the Environment estimating that fresh water is worth $35 billion a year to New Zealand, iwi have identified water as a huge windfall opportunity.

Labour, however, refused the advances of iwi leaders and upheld the strong position taken by successive New Zealand governments, that water is not owned, but is controlled and managed by the Crown on behalf of all New Zealanders.

It is worth reiterating that if any price is put on water, massive Treaty claims will undoubtedly be triggered – that will include compensation for past losses of revenue and royalties for the future use of fresh water.

In light of the fact that everyone calling for a price on fresh water exports is therefore playing into the hands of the Maori sovereignty movement, let’s examine how valid the concerns that are being raised really are.

According to the Minister for the Environment, New Zealand has more fresh water per capita than most other nations, with an average of 2.3 metres of rain falling nationwide each year. This equates to 145 million litres per person per year – seven times as much per person as Australia, 16 times as much as the US, and 70 times as much as the UK or China.

Around 600 trillion litres of water flow through New Zealand’s lakes, rivers and aquifers annually, and of that, some 11 trillion litres – around 2 percent – is extracted. That means 98 percent of New Zealand’s fresh water supply remains untouched.

Of the water that is extracted, six trillion litres is used for irrigation, two and a half trillion for industry, two trillion for local authority supplies, and half a trillion for livestock.

Under common law and statute, irrespective of who owns the land over or under which fresh water flows, water in New Zealand is owned by no-one. That means there is no legal justification for any Maori claim to fresh water. Under the Water and Soil Conservation Act 1967 and the Resource Management Act 1991, apart from a personal allowance for those with water on their properties, anyone wanting to use water must gain a resource consent or ‘water permit’ from their local regional council or unitary authority.

While no-one pays for the water, they do pay for permits and councils do charge for providing water to households and businesses either through rates or by volume to cover the cost of filtering, pumping, piping and treating water supplies.

Of the 20,500 water permits on issue throughout the country, 41 are for the bottling of fresh water, and a further 30 are for multiple purposes including water bottling. 

Only 23 water bottling permits are said to be currently in use, and in 2016, bottled water exports accounted for only nine million litres – an extremely small proportion of New Zealand’s total annual fresh water use.

While water is, of course, a major component of many other exports – each litre of wine exported is said to have used 200 litres in its production and each kilogramme of beef, 400 litres – in comparison, a litre of water that is bottled, produces a litre of water for export.

Like any other business, water bottling also contributes to the wider economy, through the processing of the water – pumping, storage, filtration, and purifying – to the packaging, transporting, and shipping of the product to overseas markets, not to mention the employment of staff, the leasing of premises, the payment of rates, and so on.

However, the bigger question, that needs to be considered by all New Zealanders – especially political parties – is do we really want to risk triggering a new round of Treaty claims, by putting a price on water, or is our best option to look for policies to improve the allocation of fresh water that do not include a charge?


Should the Government introduce a charge on water?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


Yes, but for the common good, not select iwi. Such charges should not apply to Agriculture/ horticulture as users already pay levies and for upkeep of the water schemes. Peter
Why give the bloody maoris another thing to claim! Murray
This madness has to STOP – Maori want want want – Bill English is sleeping with the Devil now over the RMA amendment act acquiesced to allow Iwi hapu to get their digs in – it will all be about the mighty $$ and CONTROL. Mr T
Next thing fresh air! Since when has the government owned the water or the air? Christine
There is some merit in charging a fee for large quantities of water used in drinks sent overseas, with currently no return to benefit NZ. Ross
I believe that EVERYONE owns the water, just the same as any other of NZ’s natural resources. Maori have no more claim to it than any other NZer. Therefore it should be charged for extraction for export, and the proceeds go into the public purse. Colin
Only for export. Foreign entities and New Zealand owned companies wanting our water for export should pay a substantial royalty to the New Zealand Government on a by volume basis. Works for oil in other parts of the world. Same thing. Kerry
We are already charged for water by local bodies. Bugger the goverment. Ray
Sorry, but I thought that we already receive water bills every month. What’s the issue ? We have been paying for water for generations. Steve
No one owns the water. Gaz
Not a charge, but bulk use quotas should be on a where-spare basis and need to be re-requested every 2-3 years. Jay
I believe that there should be a “royalty” on all water that is exported. I also do not believe that we should export bulk water. We should retain the economic benefits from bottling the water here in NZ. Sure that will add to the cost for people to purchase it overseas, but it is viewed as a premium product already, so where is the problem with a higher price? Laurie
Clearly introduction of a charge for water is a can of worms. What a tangled web the present government has woven for us in pandering to the whims of the corporations known as “iwi.” Perhaps they will be answerable for this at this year’s election. Rob
If anyone in NZ thinks they have the right to claim ownership of water – Central govt, Maori or other corporates, then I am going to claim ownership of the Sun!! I mean come on NZ, this is becoming absurd!!. Yes, water has to be managed, and yes we can be doing it better, but we are in a very fortunate position of being almost inundated by it. So, lets tidy up the waterways, manage it better, stop looking for an easy dollar, and all enjoy it! By the way, if central govt sees a need to export water, then why, as a nation, are we not bottling ourselves? Prop up the regional labour economies, and maybe the proceeds could go back into superannuation. As long as water was being sourced from locations that could be proven were not filling the land water table, or adversely altering river flows, then maybe our WHOLE nation could benefit, instead of a few domestic/international companies. Lachlan
No! That would be an extremely unwise. Water should be owned either by nobody or everybody. Some sort of royalty payable by entities extracting and selling water, the proceeds to benefit ALL NZ citizens, would make more sense. Martin
Some countries go to war over water !! Do we ever lean anything from history ?? John
As soon as you do, you give Maori another the right to another source of income which they will exploit to the nth degree, as they do with all of their manufactured disputes! Norman
Fresh air next? Colin
NO, Michael hit the nail on the head, so I’m repeating it, I give this to you all in plain text: The one who controls water controls the entire nation. That is why the tribal elite wants to get into this big time. And the reason why National Party %u2018s leaders in charge are going along with this is because they have been bought off by tribal leaders big time. National does not care about NZ citizens at all. They have committed treason and not only have to be removed from office but have to be charged by the High Court for their crimes against NZ citizens.  Athol
Surely you mean ANOTHER CHARGE on water? We already get taxed to death for water to pay for Water Care company cars, exorbitant salaries and complete lack of responsibility…go figure? Mark
No, no one owns the water! Bruce
Leave it as the status quo. Peter
Only if exported. Neil
We all need to become one form of citizenship – a New Zealander – to eliminate all this Maori & TOW garbage. The Cost of Living is high enough – why should we pay for water? Monica
Yes but new zealanders as a country “own” it. Oy iwi alone, farmers have to oay for their irrigation watet. Charging for bottled water would be more tax for govt. Nigel
I am part owner of an industrial ice plant in Napier suplying ice to the fishing industry. Our wonderful PM says that water is FREE Well let me inform him that we are charged for our water, so what’s he on about? Neville
But there should be an export permit fee per million litres. Chris
Gift an amount of free water only to any country who also imports other NZ products such as milk, lamb & beef, venison, wool, fish, timber etc. on a pro rata basis to be decided by Government. This may provide a very worthwhile incentive to China and other countries water supply problems as the are bound to increase. Mike Moor’s C.E.R. Agreement with Australia may contain some insight into such an agreement. Enjoy your Newsletters – Thank you.  George
If the water table dropped to an unacceptable degree the council concerned could step in and stop the operation, but only on that basis. Why Maori should have a say in this confounds me. Eric
The government have said so many times that the water is free to all, Just who is running the Government? Should it change this call? Warren
Are our members of parliament so blind that they cant see what is staring at their faces of the consequences of charging for water? Peter
To buy something, ie exchange money for goods or services, the seller must first own or offer the product/service for sale. If, and it seems likely,that the ownership of fresh water in NZ may pass to a privileged group based purely on race, then all we have to do is refuse to pay the invoice. With enough folk taking this action, the commodity has no value. Barry
A resounding No! Kerin
Your question is not clearly worded. My answer is no charge for people living in New Zealand. Yes charge for overseas interests taking our water for their own sales. Sh3ila
Definitely NO! Don
But qualified, as it is the right of ALL New Zealanders (not just special interest groups, cultures) to have access to clean drinking water. However, if water that is currently an individuals right to get, is then sold on, then they should be charged for it. Graeme
The idea of charging a fee for the water that is bottled and sold overseas is completely emotive and lacking in common sense. What do people think happens to that water that is present in subterranean aquifers if someone does not go to great expense to drill a well, insert a pipe and all the other infastructure necessary to bring that water to the surface and bottle it. Do people think the water just sits there forever if it is not bottled. Of course not. The aquifer flows out to sea and the water is lost……..at least in the medium term. So if a company taps the source, bottles it and sells it overseas that company must pay a water rite to the llocal council, pay taxes on its profits and wages to the people it employs to operate the business. Ronmac
They should charge only on water that is exported outside of the country and the money should go into the public coffers and not be given to any of the Greedy Maori IWI. Otherwise no charges. Colin
No one owns the water. Government should charge those wishing to export water for profit. The charge would be an admin charge only. Sherie
No one individual or group should own fresh water in NZ. Everyone has an equal right. Malcolm
The water is owned by all the people of NZ. Bruce
It is a national resource and if sold the state should receive a charge. Ken
Only charge should be for commercial enterprises, local and overseas. Keith
Water belongs to all. Graham
Once again politicians want to dictate. This is exactly the sort of issue we need a citizens binding referendum on. Rick
Not on your nelly. Water was here before the mori-ori, maori, and europeans for all to use. It is a basic necessity of all life and should be treated as a free entity to those who inhabit this land, no gender or race excluded. Ray
Never, never, never! Why develop another mare’s nest? Jim
Let us keep it as it is, no one owns the water. Fraser
Local councils should have authorty to add a charge as part of the consent process for water that is processed and exported overseas.and sold here to end consumers. Ken
Perhaps an export tax would be the answer. Peter
Only the Maoris should pay for the water, and even then they will probably fuck it up. Graham
A charge on water will play into the hands of the maori elite. National have given in to their demands for undemocratic and unelected Maori representatives on all local government. It is not hard to see that National’s motive is purely to keep their jobs in Government, and not hard to see what the Maori elites are up to. It’s an absolute disgrace, and so many people are totally unaware or uninterested in what is going on.. God help us if National get back in power, and God help us if labour and the Green do!!! We are all on a road to nowhere. Lorraine
Only if the water is being exported and there’s DEFINITELY no Maori involvement in the process which could allow them to rort the system under some phony Treaty settlement. Tony
To offset water charges to NZ citizens. John
Water should be free to use – it occurs naturally and runs to waste if not used. The purchase of land includes the right to take resources from that land. Maurice
Although I do think there needs to be some discussion on how an overseas company can come here and directly profit from its sale. Anthonyandlois
We don’t need any more maori “ownership” of resources and if they see the $ sign they will be in there double quick. Laura
Surely it is again the greedy maori with the help of the national party to try and steel our water and whatever they can. Lance
Apply Occam’s razor test. KISS! Doug
Water belongs to all New Zealand people and NOT to the maori profiteers. No charge for water. Don’t give anyone a licence to export water. Any foreign companyy or person should have the licence cancelled. No National Party after the next election. May be we have to let Winston have a go. Johan
Definitely not. Nevkath
What next, air? John
The only charge the Govt should make on water is when it is sold overseas. All water consumed or used within NZ Must not have a charge on it we already pay for the reticulation and processing of our domestic water . To give Maori rights to even a drop of water must not happen and if it does it will mean big trouble. what about this crap that Maori own the bottoms of our lakes, now they charge for swimmers who compete in the Taupo organised swims this should be dealt to and stoped by our pandering Govt. John
No. The only charges should be for capturing, storing, treating and reticulating water to the consumer. We rural dwellers capture, store, reticulate and treat out own domestic and stock water. Why are those n urban and metropolitan areas prevented from capturing and storing water from the roofs of their homes for use on gardens, washing vehicles and other non-consuming uses?? Andrew
A charge on plastic bottles full of water, yes – A substantial charge. We should not be giving away artisan water especially when we have droughts and polluted rivers. Pamela A
If the water is used for commercial purposes then definitely. Anyone collecting to ons elk or store should pay a premium price. Farmers should pay the same price due to pollution. Other commercial enterprises slightly less And all residential home water should be free. Michelle
It must be kept for all kiwis not unelected Iwi. John
The introduction of MMP has resulted in this creeping advance of apartheid as parties cow tow to Maori to keep their power in Government. It will not stop until the electoral system is modified. Irvine
I think it is criminal for the govt to give Maori ownership of lake beds and river beds. What is wrong with their brains if they have any? David
Natural resources should belong to ALL of the people and trusted to the Govt to manage them, anyone that wants to profit by bottling and selling it should be charged for it and all bottling to be done here using Kiwi labour. No racist handouts needed thankyou, they have enough billions to take care of themselves, but they don’t. Stevo
Government has gone too far, they can`t be trusted to act sensibly. We need provincial Government or Home rule for the south and let them benefit from a sur-charge of 15% (GST) on the value of each bottled litre exported and the Provincial Governments use that money to tidy up the South Island infrastructure. The same should apply to the North Island as well. Robert
Water comes from the Sky up above, does Maori own that as well ????? Ian
This will be the end of English. IAN
No. As it would appear to be the best way to prevent Maori (or any other party other than “New Zealanders”) from any control of freshwater whereby they could blackmail other users into paying “royalties”. Tony
Of course not. The government should make it crystal clear that position will not change. Terry
Absolutely not. It will just provide a springboard for other charges and ownership of everything else, dividing the nation even more. The question is, will it benefit New Zealanders as a whole? Certainly not. Elizabeth
Any Quantaty over say 1000ltr of strait water only, going out of the country, should have a levy on it. Stan
Any charge on water will only trigger further racist claims by Maori that they should get some of the revenue. We already have water rates in our rate bill. No further charge should be levied. And certainly not race based charge. New Zealand MUST BECOME ONE PEOPLE. if it is to progress and not become polluted in racial grievances. Graeme
Absolutely not – unless intention is to ON SELL FOR PROFIT. Water is a heaven given part of ONE NEW ZEALAND for all New Zealanders. Does this Government want to further divide New Zealand – on a racial basis – and against their very own written principles? Stuart
Water is there for all to use provided that use does not impact on other users by causing shortages. And it does not matter if it is overseas interests of local. If overseas companies see a value in exporting water perhaps Kiwi businesses should open their eyes and get in first!!! John
Most local bodies are now charging for water and its disposal through sewer connections. ie Auckland`s Watercare Srevices. However we must not have maori involved in the decision making,. the Treaty is not a partnership, and they must not be allowed to influence water with all their mystical and spiritual make believe. Frank
And not just those exporting bottled water its must be applied to all water takes for commercial operations. Nick
There should be a charge for water being exported from NZ to the create wealth in another country. The need for water, in NZ should be first and foremost as the country runs on it. To squander a resource for a few bucks is a definite NO. Elizabeth
No way but Govt is gutless when it comes to saying no to maori and of course don’t forget…iwi stands for ‘ I Want It’ and they get it. Barry
Definitely not. We might as well have voted for Labour the way this National government is carrying on. Barbara
We do not need or want a charge on water … but I’d charge maori by the glass!! Des
For the reasons explained in this last issue. Ron
I all ready pay for water services through a meter to the local council. This should apply to all. We don’t need central Government invlved involved. Norman
The Water of NZ is owned by all New Zealanders, equally. The Anzac’s sacrifice was for our Freedom and Democracy. The Race Separatist’s will not prevail! Ken
Never never never James
It generally comes from the heavens for everybody. Christine
Fiji Govt put a 15c/L tax on water bottled at Fiji Water (an American owned water bottling company) in 2010. Recently they changed it to charge on the volume taken from the source (artesian) rather than just what was bottled. Also the tax rate was increased. In my view those taking the water should pay tax in NZ for the volume taken. Chris
On ALL commercial operations. Kelvin
But there should be some control over our water being exported. We are short of water in droughts in many places in NZ. Kay
Only to foreign company’s that want to sell our water. Not on NZlanders. David
The Government should put a charge on companies who bottleing our water and making money out of it. That is were the Charge should lay. Robert
Absolutely not. Carolyn
Allocation of resources does not need to have a price attached other than the cost of collecting, treating and distributing. If everyone owns the water, then who could possibly benefit from the revenues gained by charging for the water prior to any subsequent processing effectively introducing a further tax. Michael
But only if it is to be resold. But for every day ordinary use it must be free to every one. Theodorus
Not for local use but there must be a way to get some revenue for overseas companies taking our fresh water to bottle overseas, and there has to be a risk of pollution of our seas from tankers coming from risky sites. Carole
This would literally open the floodgates of Maori venality. Dennis
How would they charge for the rain that falls on our roof? The concept of a water charge is ridiculous. Anon
Let’s stick with ALL NZers own the water in NZ,’ for heavens sake! We don’t need any more racist rip-offs in our once democratic country. Susan
Having more water then we need is no reason to give it away. The easiest way to charge for it is to make sure a condition of accessing our water is for Govt to provide the means of supplying it exactly like NZ local Councils do and charge excessive fees per 1000lt for processing and piping the water to where ever the organisations accessing it want the pipe outlet to be. Paul
I’d like to say yes but NOT as it will give iwi more clout they already have MORE given to them by national than other kiwi’s & TAX PAYERS. Cindy
Water is our MOST valuable resource ask the residents of countries with inadequate supplies of potable water. When the oil is gone we can manufacture synthetics – try doing that with water – making it from seawater will give you the true cost of fresh water. John
I give this to you all in plain text: The one who controls water controls the entire nation. That is why the tribal elite wants to get into this big time. And the reason why National Party ‘s leaders in charge are going along with this is because they have been bought off by tribal leaders big time. National does not care about NZ citizens at all. They have committed treason and not only have to be removed from office but have to be charged by the High Court for their crimes against NZ citizens. Michael
Export only Irrigators should be restricted for the aquifer’s supply and the usual wells that are in existence. Leigh
What next? David
Because clearly this will simply trigger more demands by Maori for a share of that money, and then that will spread to include water used by hydro power stations and so on. We don’t need any more divisive issues! Hugh
They would give the proceeds to the Maoris. Bruce
Water must remain in the hands of the government for the use and benefit of all New New Zealanders. Tony
This is a ploy for Government to help Maoris charge for water, it is called “The thin edge of the wedge”. George
Just so sick of this potential gravy train being talked about with the Maoris. Please scrap the the Treaty tribunal. Neil
I have voted “NO” to charging for water, but I do think that those companies which are bottling any water either for home consumption or export, need to pay a really realistic fee for their permit. Ted
No, Stop pandering to these people. Ross
You wouldn’t give petrol away for nothing . These people are running a commercial operation for profit so they should have to pay for the water . Jock
Water should be charged or if it is exported. Anne
Certainly not if it is in the grubby hands of Maori. A small levy on exported water perhaps. Tim
Stop further waitangi claims, maoris should keep hands off water! Gerard
The ownership of NZ is being handed over to15 per cent of the population. John
If yes we can charge them for damage. Jones
More importantly NO group or race should have preferential access or control of water in its many forms. Willie
See the book “No-Nonsense Guide to Water”. Water is a “commons”, and the dangers of making it a commodity are condemned. Peter
Not at this stage. The greed of these So-called Maori. Who mostly have more white ancestry than Maori, is incredible, outrageous and disgusting. No wonder Key got out, after all the damaging kow-towing he instigated is encouraging these “elitist” thugs. We need a leader with a backbone – someone firm like President Trump! Carolyn
…with no iwi allowed to get their greedy gravy train hands on the cash…. Chris
Definitely!! In fact I think it should be given to New Zealanders to use in their households. Beryl
No there should not be a charge on water but the resource must remain under the control and management of the Crown on behalf of all New Zealanders. So a “so called charge” for water could in fact be reflected in the circumstances of the water use and who is actually using it. I am “charged” for water use and it is reflected in my rates, so the costs associated go to the local authority to maintain my water supply. God help us if the shifty government bypass the democratic process and allow the greedy maoris to get another handout. Democracy will certainly be down the gurgler then. Neil
New Zealanders should never have to pay for their water. But anyone taking our water and selling it should be charged – having said that the question still needs to be asked should overseas companies be allowed to bottle our water and sell it? Frances
Not for water used domestically but yes for water that is exported as a raw product. But of course once again Maori will lay claim to ownership then try and screw all New Zealanders for using water. Pathetic Government. Mike
There should no charges for water, water collection from rainfall or waterways. Bryan
I cannot fathom this As we already pay extra for bottled water in the Shops however if one wants a glass in a restaurant it more often than not is FREE If Rural people run out of water because they are NOT able to get it any other way it costs yet same more often than not comes from the sky in the first instance NO-ONE owns the water and never should BUT for what is happening with that that is being loaded onto ships and going off shore there should be a hefty fee for same Our water is for New Zealanders they should be finding their own in their own Countries NOT ours Can see a RED HERRING occurring here in New Zealand should the Government charge for water in more ways than one —-JUST STOP letting it go off shore as it is. MARYLIN
No, not worth the hassle or cost of charging for it. Andrew
Only if exported. Colin
Any charge for water will be subverted by the iwi elite for their own benefit. They want a situation where they clip the ticket on everything they can possibly get. Roger
Absolutely not – water belongs to all New Zealanders – not just a minority! David
Many years ago, someone from one of middle eastern oil supplying countries, suggested their oil tankers should return to their homeland full of West Coast water. Too long ago to remember all the details, but the GREENIES objected strongly, claiming the tanks might be flushed after oil delivery, creating environmental pollution. Truth was the tanks would have been lined before refilling. This time the GREENIES stay quiet when plastic bottles [made from oil] are being filled for export. The Maori don’t care about any of that, just as long as the free ride from a gutless Government continues. The fact is, this country has a commodity that falls from the sky free, that much of the world wants. SOLUTION; Build the infrastructure to capture the resource, pass the cost of the infrastructure plus 15per-cent [GST] on to those who require the water. The sale agreement should also demand local employment. That way, even the Maori can earn some honest money.. A.G.R.
I don’t believe there should be a charge on water apart from the cost to treat it and distribute it to residents. If Maori think they want a commsion then may be when we get a flood they pay for the damage. Les
It doesn’t belong to the government. It belongs to all of us. If the govt. owed it they would be open to being sued for droughts and floods… Graeme
Water exported as water should most certainly be charged for; water used to produce other products, e.g. wine, beef, should not be charged for as the water itself remains in NZ and is not exported. Revenue derived from the purchase of water to be exported could be used by environmental organisations such as DoC to ensure that the environment remains pristine enough to enable the supply of water to be continued. Alan
No way!! Mike
Definitely not. Historically water is free and we pay for the infrastructure. While there may be a need for bottled water in third world countries, in the first world it is largely an affectation like the pretentious use of cell phones in public places. Before exporting water we need to ensure our infrastructure is sound and that the continued supply of water for our own needs is guaranteed. Maori need only be concerned with the continued supply of water – not the ability to rort another intangible. David
Is there no end to how the Maori Mafia is milking the rest of us, including the majority of Maori. Don
It will bankrupt the country. KEVIN
I think this question is too simple. Local Bodies already charge for water supply – not the water although some councils do charge for tyhe water. So charging for water is not new. There needs to be an open debate on this as there are time when a charge (tax) on water would be appropriate – but there is the question – who will or will not qualify for the charge without uosetting what NZers expect of our water resources! Ian
Free for all. Steve
I believe that the fresh water in New Zealand should be free and to be of benefit of ALL New Zealanders. Paul
Next thing, Waitangi Treaty proponents will want to charge for the air we breathe . . David
Water is an essential of life commodity. It no more belongs to Maori, than it does to the government. Neither are entitled to an income from it. Bob
Because the Maori will want the money. Neil
Definitely not! Peter
How can you put a charge on something you do not own? Dennis
If the govt. does bring in charging for water, it would only handover the money to the thieving, bloody “maori elite”. So, what good would it do for the rest of the country?. John
I already pay for water through the meter installed at my boundary by the City Council, as do many others. Water should not be bottled. Until recently it never was. I never buy bottled water. The waste in plastic bottles thrown away after one use, is enormous. Many of these end up in the sea and rubbish tips. Both undesirable situations. Water export is unnecessary and a waste of resources on transport,, plastic raw materials and manpower. If the Government places a charge on water or if Maoris get their hands on ‘clipping the ticket’ that will further increase the cost of the family budget, simply to satisfy the Maoris gimme,gimme, gimme. We’ll all be the losers then as they never use income for improving the standards of their low income population. Again, water is not owned by anyone so don’t let Maoris take control of it through their undemocratic appointment to local body government. Chris
However, the government ought to stipulate that any water to be exported must be processed and bottled in this country, rather than bulk-freighted overseas. This would generate employment and revenue for the public good. and no: Moari must never be allowed to “own’ fresh water: the idea of “proprietary interst” is a legal nonsense. Graham
That will open the door for maori to claim they own the water and want money for the use of it. Graeme
Water extraction for export is no different than the royalities they gey on minerals, coal, gold and oil. Anything under the ground belongs to the government. Ian
It should be like any other scarce resource, although amount charged should differ by residential versus commercial. Dan
No charge for water but water harvested ie (bottled water )sold overseas should have a levy above company tax so that all council or hospitals or the like benefit from its sale. Ray
Charging us and giving water away to foreign profit-making enterprises. How obscens can the Government get? John
No no no … what has the treaty got to do with this? When is this gravy chain going to end. Imagine if the govt stood up and (2014)put an end to all of this nonsense how the rest of NZ would have the money to support the health education and all the other structures that make a country grow. There are other cultures in NZ wake up and say enough is enough no more treaty rip offs..New Zealand as it was meant to be for all New Zealanders not for the supposedly ” first” people of the land …ask the relatives of the Maoriore? Dianne
When Maoris arrived on our shores, they were lucky – they found water. They didnt own it then and they dont own it now. It is there for every citizen equally. Peter
Stop the Maoris trying to get their noses in a money trough – sick of this stuff, Kevin
It will lead to more profitering and corruption. Dave
Exports should be paid for. John
Only when it is sold to commercial operators and in particular those offshore. Never when it is public supply water to legitimate Kiwi and councils. The profits must be to the equal benefit of all legitimate Kiwi’s totally regardless of race or ethnicity. Under no circumstance do Iwi get any advantage or privilege. Donald
Water is not a commodity in this country. Surely even a stupid, constantly-Maori-appeasing National government can see that. If the lid is ever taken off that particular Pandora’s Box, it’ll be impossible to ever replace it. Jim
Its not difficult to see where this is heading. Incidentally I wrote to the PM and my local MP regarding the RMA and only got a computer generated reply. Hopeless lot. Robin
NO, no, no – we do not want to risk another round of claims. No charge on water EVER! Simon
Absolutely not. National should stick to the lead of every other Government with NO price on water. Francis
The greed of iwi leaders is a national disgrace. No government should pander to them. Pete
This whole water policy process is being run by iwi leaders – non-iwi New Zealanders are being treated like fools by the politicians and the elite. Where’s our Kiwi Donald Trump when we need him?! Graeme
It is outrageous that National are treating iwi like superior citizens – supremacy os what they are after and National is bowing and scraping to their every demand. This whole thing is sickening. Michael