Duncan Garner: Labour doesn't know how to charge water bottlers despite pre-election song and dance

Opinion 11/03/2019

OPINION: Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First made a massive song and dance during the election campaign about putting a price on water.

Why should foreign companies come here and pay just $2000 a year for resource consent and export millions of litres of our best water - for nothing? I agreed then and I agree now, it seems wrong to have such a minimal charge on our resource.

Of course, it's hard not to suspect there's a little public racism or xenophobia attached to it all. A Chinese-owned company taking our water for free? Bugger that.

If I have to pay the criminally insane price of $5 for a bottle of Pump water at the movies, why should they get the water for free? It makes me furious.

But here's the reality bit. Labour can't work out how to do it.

Nine-million litres a year is bottled and exported, it's not that much. Now the Government's blaming trade agreements for why we can't charge for it. Really? They didn't stop the foreign house ban. If it's true that trade deals are blocking this, then who owns us?

Are we a sovereign nation? Can we please have our country back?

I have a solution - put up the price of the annual resource consent.

Ask the question - are you buying this land for commercial water bottling, if so, that consent is much more expensive. Might that drive them away? Possibly.

Is it worth raising the few to gain a few million dollars, but then lose or risk the foreign investment and jobs? The joys of being in Government. It's much easier to shout empty promises from the comfort of not yet being elected, then whoops, Winston chose us.

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show.