Two weeks ago, we learned that Ashburton District Council plans to sell 40 billion litres of pure water from an over-allocated catchment to a water bottling company in a time of drought. Today we have another example: National's friends Oravida:
New Zealand water could be the next big export to China and one of the companies that has just jumped in for a slice of the pie is none other than Oravida.
They've now expanded from Scampi and milk, to water from a plant in the Bay of Plenty it bought for an undisclosed sum last year.
Oravida has a consent to 146 million litres of ground water a year and the regional council says Oravida pays an annual compliance charge of around $500.
Oravida markets the water at $1.60 a litre, meaning if all 146 million litres were sold it could be worth $233 million a year.
$500 for a $233 million revenue stream? This is simple plunder. But its a perfect example of why we need to price water: to ensure that we actually benefit from our resources, rather than letting them be effectively stolen from us for beads and blankets.