Monday, June 26, 2017

Not grovelling after all

Last week, after a report in Stuff, I accused the Labour Party of grovelling to the almighty cow by backing away from resource rentals for water. But it turns out they were misreported:

“It was reported following my speech to Federated Farmers last week that Labour has abandoned its policy of charging a royalty on farming uses of water. We haven’t.

“At the conclusion of my speech I was asked about resource rentals which I thought was a reference to our NZ Power policy of 2014. I replied that we were not continuing with that policy. I confirmed we would impose a levy on bottled water. This was in addition to our focus on water quality, which I had already spoken about.

“The message of my speech was that we will work with farmers on regulatory change and that there is urgency to act on environmental quality and climate change. We remain committed to setting a resource rental for large water take for irrigation at a fair and affordable price.

This is good to hear. Currently farmers enjoy an enormous public subsidy in the form of free water, and this encourages and enables environmentally destructive practices. Hopefully Labour will follow through on this policy, and make farmers pay their way, rather than letting them steal and pollute with impunity.