Labour's knee-jerk 'clean our rivers' call needs details so it doesn't look like a rural-to-urban wealth transfer in the sheep's clothing of a freshwater policy; On the principles of royalties; And why aren't we talking nitrates?

By Alex Tarrant

Labour’s water policy announcement had some of the desired effect. “Labour promises to make commercial water bottlers pay,” one major news outlet headlined.

Some coverage even got excited that Labour would get unemployed youth to plant trees and build fences around waterways to ‘help’ the farmers out.

I’ll get that out of the way first, because as Jordan Luck once said, it’s been bugging me: If you can get someone to the skill level required to build stock fences on rural terrain then you’re more than halfway to training up a fully-fledged farmer. That’s no bad thing, given an ageing farming workforce and shortage of labour.

But that part of the policy sounds more a confused make-work scheme (with which the health and safety people will have a field day) included in a fresh water policy after a last-minute brainwave from someone who thought it would sound good to Ponsonby swing voters.

It’d be easier putting these ‘youths’ to work in the milking sheds while Mr and Ms Farmer go and carry out the fencing work. (Not that these kids will be required on dairy farms – some 97% of dairy waterways are already fenced off. The government’s expected $400m expense required to have 90% of waterways fenced by 2030 work will fall on beef (mostly), pig and deer farms.)

Now to the water policy. Quick note: if you want to know all there is to know about the policy, then you can’t just go to the policy page. Yes, that’s a good starting point, but the details are trickling out from various sources.

Labour’s ‘big environmental announcement’ on Wednesday was led by a speech by new leader Jacinda Ardern. There were tidbits there not in the policy document. For example, ‘stock water’ (ie the stuff in troughs) won’t attract a royalty (even if it comes from the same place as ‘other’ water which would attract a royalty).

Hydro power companies won’t be classed as commercial users because they discharge the water back into the rivers. That might sound fine. But go and ask a down-river water user whether they’ve ever had any problems of hydro companies keeping water back at certain times of the year.

If you want to be real nit-picky then anyone who’s spent time in a milking shed knows cows are wont to discharge water back into the natural environment as well. Yes, I know, unlike the hydros, cow piss comes with the added bonus of a heap of nitrogen – which is causing more damage than anything else to most waterways. Just remember this though: Labour’s policy document on cleaning up those waterways doesn’t mention nitrogen or nitrates once.

On Friday, we heard royalties will only apply to water taken from rivers, lakes and aquifers. It seems the line in the policy page that “councils will not pay any water royalty” means that all water sourced from council supply won’t be affected.

This means urban water bottling companies or those who turn water into Coke or beer in Auckland won’t have to pay royalties for the water they use. Let’s turn a blind eye to the fact that a portion of Auckland’s urban water supply is from a great, big – wait for it – river.

The argument is that urban commercial users already pay charges to Watercare and the like for delivery of water. That’s not paying for the actual water like farmers will be forced to do (oh, sorry, and rural water bottlers). That’s paying for the infrastructure.

Here’s a newsflash: farmers also pay for the infrastructure needed to deliver the water from river to paddock. It doesn't just turn up there. Irrigation NZ’s Andrew Curtis seeks to explain it: The cost to install irrigation infrastructure is $5,000-$9,000 a hectare plus annual maintenance. And rates are about $2,000 more a year than a dry-land property. Also, farmers pay for council monitoring and reporting on water use.

If Labour’s main problem was that some farmers are subsidised for irrigation costs, then take those funds away (which they’re doing). If you’re doing that, then just to be fair, make Auckland residents pay the actual cost for Watercare’s pipes – those Infrastructure Growth Charges they bill you don’t recover the full costs of growth, as I’ve written before.

Writing this column, I kept coming across new comments from David Parker that just threw up more and more questions. Here’s another one: "Some of those water consents are now very valuable and it’s fair that the public gets a share of that money."

If Labour’s problem is our current first-come-first-served basis for allocating water consents then change the way that operates. Bring in tradable allocation rights. Is there any talk of this? No. At least just pay lip service to the fact the current government has a group (led by an ex-Labour Cabinet Minister) researching how we could allocate water rights better and that we’ll listen to what they say.

What are the details?

It all got to a point last week when I asked Labour whether we could have all the details in one place; could they publish Ardern’s Wednesday speech for farmers to be able to read? No, the speech was mainly from notes, apparently.

Then something interesting: There’s an election manifesto chapter on the policy. Can we see it? Not yet – they still have various boxes to check before it’s made public. Up until then, Labour had said that we wouldn’t see more details until after a roundtable is held within the first 100 days of the next government.

Well, that was until David Parker and Grant Robertson began talking about 1c, 2c or 3 cents per 1000 litres as they sought to deflect the 10c claim and $18 cabbages. Also, we’re now told the most the ‘royalty’ would raise is $500m a year. Granted, it’s not up there with Nick Smith’s scaremongering of tens or hundreds of billions. But have we got all the details, or is there more to come? There might be some fleshing out in that manifesto.

Royalties

As they’re fleshing the ideas out, I’d encourage the party’s policy boffins to read this rather helpful paper Treasury wrote in 2006 on principles for royalties on non-mineral resources in New Zealand. It includes all the main questions we should be asking ourselves when looking to impose a royalty regime on a resource like water.

Here’s a key paragraph: It can, however, be translated, as in the Sustainable Development Water Programme of Action, to a usable design principle that any royalty regime should ensure that a resource “is made available over time for its highest value use”. (Footnote: Value is defined “in its holistic sense and not just in reference to economic value. Highest value use encompasses all aspects of sustainable development: environmental, social, cultural and economic.)

Translation: A pure royalty regime should help society figure out the best value use for each water catchment. For some catchments, this might be allowing for intensive farming. For others, less farming so that a greater amount of recreational activity can take place in/on/around nearby water bodies and for greater environmental outcomes. Nationwide, it might provide an argument for even more intensive farming overall; it might mean get rid of farming altogether.

Labour’s policy page appears to pay homage to this: Labour will allow each regional council to apply royalties flexibly “to reflect the scarcity or abundance of water in different regions, the different quality of water, and its use.”

But that doesn’t hold when you get to the bit on why exactly the policy was announced: “The National Policy Statement will stop water quality getting worse straight away. Water quality will begin improving within five years. Within a generation, we will reverse the damage that has been done to our fresh water, and make our rivers and lakes swimmable.”

Instead of a ‘pure’ royalty regime that encourages highest value use, we’ll get a regime that encourages this, but only if quality of all water bodies nationwide doesn’t fall further below X, and hits Y within ‘a generation’. We’ll also get a regime that needs to raise (only) $500m a year.

I’m not at all begrudging Labour those water quality goals – it would be very nice to be able to tell everyone that all our water bodies meet an exceptionally high swimability standard. But let’s start saying it how it is

Let’s acknowledge that, before we even start, we’ve set a bunch of parameters that might not fit with best practice for why we want a royalty regime in the first place (to figure out highest value use of water in different catchments).

Let’s acknowledge that this is not a ‘pure’ royalty regime. It will be a targeted transfer of wealth away from certain parts of the economy – agriculture/rural – wrapped up in the sheep’s clothing of ‘a fresh water announcement’, to pay to fix something that we’ve all allowed to happen.

Let’s discuss what this $500m a year will likely be spent on. Are we talking about transition support (re-skilling of Canterbury horticulture farmers into urban water bottlers)? Are we talking about subsidies for land-use change (if so, then a slice of just $500m might not cut it)?

The only thing I’ve heard David Parker venture is that regional councils might use the funds to reduce existing rates paid by horticulturalists. If you allow them to keep the same overall costs then this won’t discourage water use – it wouldn’t tackle the issue of over allocation because they’d put the money they save on lower ‘other’ rates towards paying extra to keep their water use the same.

Promising farmers a bunch unemployed youth to help plant some trees and fence some waterways in exchange for $500m a year to put towards whatever councils want to put it towards as long as they can link it back to water isn’t going to cut it. Oh, and start talking about reducing nitrogen run-off if you want a freshwater policy to be taken seriously.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment or click on the "Register" link below a comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.

115 Comments

up
12

Well water is not free to us - Residential and people who are filling up water and exporting should definitely be charged unlike national who has been saying till now that legally, they cannot charge them but now being election year their tone has changed.

Will have to wait for details from labour but for many definately not the national in this election

It is actually really simple. If the water is exported out of the country, in the form of water or in drink form, then it should be charged a royalty. These companies are trading on NZs clean green name. Actual water within NZ should be free, and currently;y it is. People may pay for water coming out their tap, but that is just a fee to cover it's distribution and the infrastructure. but noone should be making a profit from that. It should be charged at cost. Otherwise are we also going to start charging for air?

OMG is David Parker involved?

I think Alex Tarrant is going to have to apologise to David Parker for his smear that Labour's water charging policy means urban areas are subsidising rural areas.

David Parker explained very clearly on Q&A that the purpose of water charges was to clean up waterways. https://www.tvnz.co.nz/shows/q-and-a/clips/labour-defends-plan-to-charge...

No one disputes that many of our rivers are degraded (not swimmable) and farmers are responsible for 99% of it (only 1% of rivers flow through urban areas). That is why the National government has already committed itself to spending $100million on improving the state of of NZ's waterways.

What David Parker and Labour propose is that $100 million comes from water charges on irrigation, not from the consolidated fund. That way the polluter pays, not ordinary kiwis through their taxes.

This is a clear contrast to National, where taxpayers subsidise irrigating farmers to the tune of a $400 million in direct subsidies to build irrigation and a further $100 million to clean up the rivers afterwards. I think a reasonable person could successfully argue this is evidence that urban areas are subsidising rural areas -not the other way around.

Labour's plan is for the polluter to pay. I can't see how that works out as being urban areas subsidising rural areas and I think Alex should stop peddling this falsehood -it does his otherwise good journalism no favours.

I suspect this policy was dreamed up in that 72 hours after becoming leader hence why there's just speech notes.

Another half baked policy from Labour which has effectively alienated the primary producers.

The upside is National received $500k in donations once she became leader.

up
19

Something HAS to be done, too many cans, and this is one of them, have been kicked down the road for far too long, now we have to get A into G and sort something out. At least they are prepared to take input from people involved into account before just throwing a dart at a dartboard for a figure. I hope they have alternative ideas on the burner as well, but unfortunately, we have had a massive growth in dairy in areas totally unsuited to it, requiring masses of water drawn from rivers and aquifers to support it, should never, ever have been allowed and there absolutely should be no more.
Stop moaning and start thinking, we cannot carry on like this.
I do like the idea of a levy on plastic bottles though, the world needs no more of these, we really have to find a way to wean ourselves off the stuff before we choke the planet with it.

lol, this is not about the policy -- it is the policy MAKERS !!

of course things need to be done -
But these things need to be done properly not by "Amateurs" !!

Labour has started proving to us that they need a long time to develop well thought off sellable policies and that they have been sleeping on the opposition Benches for a long time !! and just woke up to resume power ....

up
21

You have got to be kidding me, those who have been in the position to sort this have been sitting on their hands for 9 years, only moving to see to it that matters were made WORSE!

Absolutely something must be done however why not start with royalties on the bottled water and water exports. These companies are contributing nothing and merely just shipping our water overseas.

But instead Jacinda has created uncertainty and the one thing that makes an economy nervous is uncertainty.

Indeed , and very little number of voters realise that Uncertainty and nervousness could dry up Gov revenue be it in business, Investments, and Tourism ....

up
11

I expect that, by and large, that is where the policy will land, to be honest. They know they cannot cripple farmers and will NOT be setting out to do so, which is why they are prepared to discuss this.

Perhaps if the economy is that afraid of uncertainty there is something wrong with the economy - it is lacking in resiliency. This demonstrates people wanting certainty in an uncertain world - unfortunately the world is not like that. Perhaps you should read Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb.

As the old saying goes the only certainties if life are death and taxes.

If you fail to understand uncertainty is all pervasive in our world perhaps you shouldn't set foot outside your front door ( or run a business).

Have National introduced a bottled water royalty charge?

I hadn't seen that?

Edit: Answered my own question - "yes, possibly - not ruling it out" was Steven Joyce's indication on the weekend political programs. And Michelle Boag indicated that Regional Councils can already introduce a charge via consent conditions. But can they?

The position from National is fluid - pun intended!

Interesting as well that Paddy Gower quite rightly pointed out to James Shaw it must be quite disheartening that Labour has set off the debate on water charging - whereas the Greens have tried to stimulate that debate for so long. He graciously pointed out he was simply pleased it was top of the agenda now for all parties.

they had ruled it out, nick smith has railed against in question time for months, there position changed yesterday with Stephen joyce now saying that they will look into making water bottlers pay a royality
like all policy the only way the nats move is by public backlash not by what is good for NZ

And should the get in again, they'll be straight back to "Yeah, nah, we decided not to after all".

And you think professionals are any better ......

Must be better than this bunch of clowns - lol, I cannot imagine and haven't seen anything worse so far!!

Follow the money and mark these words - Labour has over promised too many things, it does not have a clue where the money is going to come from ( their leader actually admitted that in a slip of a tongue) - they just need to TAX and create revenue - the target, cause, plan, policy is all secondary - they are used to dip freely into a big pool of money ages ago and that did not change!

This policy is about the 500K , not water and river cleaning -- they can get multiples of that amount from all NZers if they can come up with water tight policy!

When the Greens can charge you for Air and Carbon, someone else could try charging you for water !! ... same BS different colour

up
17

As usual you seem to devolve to insulting Labour whom you don't seem agreed with. It kinda doesn't make your argument look that convincing. I thought the mantra was user pays or is it user pays only if you don't have to pay - again self interest at play. Any resource like water belongs to all New Zealanders and why should some use the resource and gain a significant benefit and not pay for it - much of the Canterbury plains would not be suitable for farming without some sort of irrigation. It's like any suggestion of a local fuel tax in Auckland to pay for Auckland's transport issues - why should I in Christchurch pay for Auckland's failure to plan and develop effective strategies for dealing with the city's infrastructure issues.

I suspect your reasoning has more to do with your fear of Labour getting into power (and the effect on your personal wealth) than a solid economic reasoning - self interest at work.

Time and again you miss the point and just shoot the messenger Mate!! You try to personalise the issue ...and that itself is a very weak argument.
This is not about me or you .. it is about voting for a party that is showing incompetence in a laughable way from day One in its "fresh leadership" ! Even some close labour supporters admit that it was a BAD look reflecting horribly on their ability to put out a cohesive important policy ...so simply put, they stuffed up and eroded people's confidence in them !

If there is any insult as you claim, then Labour is bringing it upon themselves ... this has NOTHING to do with the policy content - I hope you can at least get that point !!

It has to do with their Credibility & Competence . Putting out half baked policies involving such a big issue when everything about it is subject to negotiation and discussions "Later" is flimsy ..i.e. trust us and we shall sort it out and price it properly later !!... and that is unacceptable by anyone with half a brain in an election year. who can trust their 100,000 home building plan?? or immigration policies which involves providing visas to construction workers ( 56,000 required !!) ...

finally, my problem will be the same as yours and everyone else's ... we collectively will be paying more taxes to accomplish half cooked and immature projects which have no feasibility studies and both so far involves additional taxation ...!

Oh, and the strength of any argument is not by the number of likes your mates are supplying .. lol, unless common sense has left this site for ever!

'the strength of any argument is not by the number of likes your mates are supplying'....I'm pretty sure that's how democracy works...like voting.....Although you might be right, I mean I haven't agreed with many of Nationals policies the last two terms and yet JK, BE, SJ and co seemed to get plenty of votes from their National 'mates' where the policies were set to benefit certain segments of society, but not all.

And saying mates would imply people know each other on this site, which couldn't be further from the truth, with the exception of DGZ and ZS of course...

No ... I actually meant ( by Mates) the people who sympathise with each other.
you cannot but notice that today's likes go beyond democratic voting - But hey, that doesn't bother me at all - it was just a note :)

Yeah right. You mentioned Immigration. Better control over who comes than heaps of Indian economic migrants who are crying over not being able to get a foot in the door by working for peanuts and having to pay their employer for an illegal right to stay. Frankly they should never have been put in the position in the first place. It is only the lack of credible National direction that allowed the fiasco.
BTW this is not xenophobic or racist. It happens to be Indians who are crying out.

Agreed , and in the case of the indian students, I think that is why they have been returned back despite their moaning and pleas to stay ( and the moaning of the Greens and co. to let them stay !!).

look mistakes have been happening since day dot in politics and policies, But, it is even unfair to blame the Gov of the day for everything that takes place due to incompetent employees or smart o/sea agents .... NZ, being a naive and simple trustful country, had to learn a lot of tricks about immigration loopholes over the years since the 1980s, this is not new , and expect to see another perfect scam again !!- therefore we just cannot blame the administration of the day for the country's bureaucracy issues .

Excuse me, but I presume you are talking about the current "blame everything on the last Labour govt even though we took over from it just short of a decade ago" govt. That's a bit rich, isn't it?

God what do they put in the National flavored kool-aid?

when did I blame everything on the last labour Gov?

Are you sure you are following the same thread? Not sure if I understand what you mean

Lets be frank - people are motivated by self interest ( a variation of the "fear and greed" mantra). I think you miss the point in failing to understand what motivates people - psychology has everything to do with the way people interact with the world. You say its' not about "you or me" but in reality it is. People vote based on what is in it for them - otherwise why would National offer the sweeteners they did in the last budget which is conditional on them getting back in power.

As another example

http://www.msn.com/en-nz/money/homeandproperty/call-to-get-rid-of-home-d...

This was posted last night - is this really to benefit the poor home buyer who earns "a quarter of a million dollars between them" or the poor real estate agent who is not getting his commission. National has created a market that is so out of whack with economic reality that people earning a combined income of a quarter of a million dollars a year can't save the deposit for a home. WTF.

You attack Labour's "credibility and competence" and criticise their policy's - are you an expert on immigration or water rights or "insert issue" here. You make wide sweeping statements which sound more like party political broadcasts.

Is Eco Bird Mike Hosking? (not joking...)

lol, now that really made my Sunday!! haha - Not joking either :)

I shall be even more Frank and open than you would expect.

This article doesn't make a comfortable read for very different reasons than you were referring to ... First it sounds like emotional blackmail, then did this 1/4 Mil couple wake up in the morning and decided to buy a 1Mil house ... where did they spent their $250,000 pa income .. lol , on what? if they are that stupid not to haved saved for a deposit, and they were renting such an expensive place , then they certainly don't deserve to buy a house .... only a naive person would believe in tooth fairy stories like these .... so incompetent people cannot be taken as examples to go by ....

I agree that RE agents are trying to sound out to get business going - not really concerned about FHBers at all....just drumming for business!

"National has created a market ...etc" not sure that that is a credible statement - the environment was established by many internal and external factors - otherwise every Government in the developed world will be to blame about its RE problems, BECAUSE it is everywhere ...

Labour brought on criticism and left themselves open for attack because of their "credibility and competence" issues... No need to be an expert in anything to see a political party's incompetence in presenting a policy that is half cooked at the 11th hour of an election ! ... I shall repeat, Policy is not the issue here , it is about the people who made it look bad and incomplete and they have shaken the voter's trust that they can manage issues effectively...simple!

I am not affiliated with any political party, I am a citizen who does NOT like BS from anyone and don't want to be fooled into paying taxes I do not need to pay - period.

If I sounded harsh, then that is my view and opinion which I am entitled to ... just like you are to yours... incompetent and incredible are not insults , they are adjectives to describe behaviour and actions ... as to "sounds like political broadcasting", then there is plenty of that here ! :)

Was that Frank enough for you?

'I shall be even more Frank and open than you would expect.'

And here I was thinking that you've been holding back on us Eco Bird...!

But National did nothing about the housing affordability issue and they are in power (and John Key said he would when in power - as has been reported many times before - and this is a trust issue as well - how do we know what National will do....). To say it is "everywhere" is just a little disingenuous as if the government where forced to do nothing.

"Was that Frank enough for you?"

Not really - what you say didn't really add to anything that couldn't be guessed from you previous statements - you just don't like Labour.

Eco Bird is still drunk on the National kool-aid - no point talking sense to him until the morning when he wakes up and has had a strong cup of Ardern up coffee...

To be perfectly Frank, No , I dont like the current Labour formation and the team they have Today. ...as i said I have voted for the previous Labour government 3 terms last time they were at the wheel... but haven't seen a team that impresses me since then ! .. and my interests have not changed since then, I was a property investor before they assumed power last time - ( just in case you asked lol)

Here is what I think, .... and please keep this between us ....

I do not believe that any coming government will be able to solve the housing crisis in the near future in the way that most are hoping for ( maybe gradually in 3 - 6 years) -
This beast have made a life of its own and cannot be killed overnight.
This has nothing to do with my personal interests or any other nonsense along these lines ...Whoever tries to wreck the housing market by introducing taxes or closing loopholes etc will actually commit political suicide causing greater damage than anticipated ..... and all these actions will push prices even higher ... like AUS and Canada ...

The coming Gov can trim, tax, and limit foreign buying to a degree and should gradually be able to increase supply as much as they possibly can , but that's it - the rest will be market forces balancing as they go... The possibility of houses crashing in the magnitudes some here think or hope will happen is Nil ...

A correction is currently underway ( it is a normal and healthy phenomena happens every time there is a sharp rise in an asset price) but its size and duration is very debatable and i think it won't last long, there is huge demand and huge backlog ... I am not fooled by the winter sales slowdown in an Election year ...should anyone spot a quality house in a suitable location he should buy it now!

Yes , housing crises is everywhere and Govs obviously had / have limited intervention means to stop it ( delay it) -- Assuming that National was incompetent in this here, Was it the same in Canada? Aus?, UK? .. what happened to Vancouver markets? they did bounce back after a huge spike for 2 or 3 years and after introducing the stamp duty ... this Chinese purchasing power went around the developed countries like a tsunami ....We dont know really if the Govs were forced to do nothing or if their hands were tied !! we can only judge by the results ... I stopped guessing about policies and trade agreements that are not in the public domain.

If you like to blame it on National, then that is great, who will you blame on in 6 years time if prices keep rising under another Gov?
Labour was booted last election because they dared campaigning on CGT ...this time they are keeping it under wraps and not ruling it out .. so you can bet your bottom $$ that they will try to legislate it once in !! and that is Not a good thing for Housing Prices.
should CGT be introduced then the market will be stuffed - people simply won't sell until the policy is changed or prices will go up...

We know that National will try to correct the anomaly in the market and it is not doing much less than what Labour is promising to do ... Both policies are almost similar....in fact no one believes labours 100,000 houses ( mostly affordable !! not sure at what price?) -- that is the kind of BS you can be sure off even if you don't see the actual culprit !!
Central Governments are tied up by bureaucracy, local councils, RMA, and Environment Court crap... they are not miracle makers -- you hear Jacinda saying often we are going to work with councils on water and housing and infrastructure etc, so she is leaving her options a bit loose in case she hits the above bottlenecks ...

So if you could have guessed all this , then you are a smart person and don't need to ask me anything :) .. was that Frank enough?

look, It is perfectly ok not to like what I just said and completely disagree with it, it is just a different view from a different experience that does not necessarily matche yours or others...

Parliament is the ultimate court in the land - they can pass any law they like. National made a choice to do nothing - let them lay in the bed they have made. People keep saying it is about demand for housing but it is also about demand for money i.e. loans. I keep asking the spruikers where the house buyers will get the money to buy these houses - so far no one has given any answer at all - dead silence. If you can answer that with a credible, plausible answer then I will believe that house prices will continue upward otherwise not a shit show in hell.

Only 2% of houses are sold in any given year. House prices for the vast majority of houses are just extrapolated from those sales. On the way up and on the way down.

EDIT

Good morning,

You asked: "where the house buyers will get the money to buy these houses "...
Ok, I hate to break this to you, it will be a bit of painful ( in my view) .. but remember you asked for it...!

Those who did not have a deposit and did not save enough in the last 4-5 years to buy a house that SUITS their ability to service a given loan proportional to their income in such a low interest rate environment... WILL probably NOT be able to buy a house in the same area or town in the future. That train has left the station and you can curse, cry, moan and Blame whoever as much as you like ...! ...you need to catch the next train!

The only way out ( to reverse this) would be to start saving instead of crying wolf at the banks to lend you more ( that is NOT going to happen if you cannot service the loan) .. or demand that the Gov should wreck the market so you can buy !! Hmm not sure about that either! .... the RBNZ could help FHB more, BUT it has a bigger fish to fry as you know !!...

So Buyers have to help themselves first ...for example, upskill, find a better job, work another job, hope to get help from parents or get an inheritance to help out with the deposit - or pray for another GFC to happen ( Maybe WWIII)....

There are a lot of smart young couples who could not get into what they wanted and kept renting while saving - BUT they bought a small investment unit while renting ( they could afford) and saved as that appreciated in value - one of my tenants ( young couple) actually have two rental units in auckland and they are happy to rent a modern unit that suits them while their savings and investment is appreciating until such time they could buy that dream home ....So, how would you compare this couple to the 1/4 mil income one in the example above?? Do you think my tenants are stupid?

Now whether the above is fair, just, or any other sympathising feelings some may have... these are the reality of the market today - History did repeat itself --- whoever missed out in 2003-2007, and 1997-2000 @ 7 - 8% interest rates... worked and saved HARD to catch up - ... Those who didnt, are still renting !!.... ( which is not a bad thing for a while, its cheaper, and suits their lifestyle) ... And the Wise ones bought at the dip in 2009-2010 when every man and his dog was advocating to WAIT for the bottom and the crash of 15-25% ....including few famous people we know lol!!! ...( sounds familiar? )

Here is the RUB:
You say " National made a choice to do nothing" -- but So did Labour between 2000-2007.!!! or did very little ....lol, but they were lucky, left Nat holding the Can after GFC :).

Both the above two house price runaway periods were under Labour's watch ... and the 2007 peak was the highest increase in house prices we have seen so far and was under Helen's Watch !! ...The Gov then was bragging about the $7billion cash surplus they had in the coffers !! That is the same Time when immigration floodgates were opened under Labour in 2002-2003 after the markets has starved following the Y2K and dot-com bubble !! and most of us supported that - it is the Evil that you hate to Love .... so we can be selective and hypocrites as much as we like but that doesnt change realities and needs - does it?

Parliament cannot just pass any law they like !! That is nonsense- there are market realities and a lot of stuff that is not for public consumption in the background ...which could leverage the simple 1+1=2 that some of us can only resolve ...

So, is that a plausible answer ? .... I bet you didn't like that either ?..lol .. you only want what you like to hear !!:: -:)

Lets see what happens after the elections - you think Labour has the answers - well GOOD on you mate - GO for it and ignore anything you read and hear , don't let anyone distract you.
At the end of the day ... Everyone can only resolve things as much as his/her Grey matter allows to or absorbs. ... the future will be revealed soon :)

Ahh no. Where are people going to get the money to buy house in Auckland ( even with the requisite deposit). What you describe is the demand to be housed not the demand for purchase of a house.

The Bird is sounding more manic and desperate as each day passes...

I think he/she takes the supply/demand thing a little too literally and forgets about human irrationality and the influence that can have on driving a market up or down..

And I believe Labour received a surge in donations as well. All this goes to prove is that National (and National supporters) now see Labour as a real threat - would these donations have occurred if there had no been a leadership change. User pays seems to be a common mantra of the National party when it suits them but not when it hits a core voter block.

Politics now seems like a race to the bottom and while some a predicting doom - others just seem to what to protect / retain have gained (even though the economics don't make sense - I'm referring to housing affordability in Auckland). Self interest is fast becoming the real driver behind politics on both sides of the coin. It becomes which is the lesser of two evils.

Its been thier policy for the last 2 elections.

hear , hear ... thank you Alex ....
When I posted several times that the new /old labour circus is a bunch of jumpy desperate team that cannot be trusted ..i had all sorts of silly replies from their blind, brain bleached cheerleaders ... Could any sane person expect anything different? raw policies cooked in a hurry ( tit for tats - childish attitude ) dished out in a hurry to create material for the new leader to go out with ...so a week after that anecdotal premature ill prepared policy involving an IMPORTANT TAX was dished out and the best we heard was that SHE will get everyone around a table to make deals later with a thick stick under that table when it was by then too late to complain ( as they would have had the Mandate to drive their policies through (by hook or crook!)

This is a clear example of a team and young inexperienced LEADER jumping the Gun at the 11th hour trying to convince NZers that they know best and should be trusted with their money

Forget about the details of the policy all together -- focus on the way, the process, the cover up, the hesitation, the patching rushed radio interview, the changes everytime someone pointed to its various sized holes, the attitude, and the incompetence in delivery and transparency ... So is this a team and a Leader which can be trusted with bigger issues facing the country ?? ... Can we trust what looks like a groupe of amature hasty politicians dishing out policies while still brainstorming ??

So where does this example leave the sympathetic cheering out in this beauty pageant!!

Every one will pay for Labour's blunders if they get elected - no exception !

I know those words. i just worked out who you are.

really, wow -- there must be few of us thinking the same way then - that's a relief

Someone from the Government?

If it is someone from the government it gives me even more incentive to help vote them out.

TOP have dealt with a lot of the concerns you raise Alex;

http://www.top.org.nz/top9

The fundamental difference between them and Labour being that TOP would set the water price via a market, whereas Labour intend to do that via regulation. Point being, TOP haven't gone for charging urban users either. Not sure why.

http://www.top.org.nz/water_quality_not_just_a_rural_problem

I don't know if this answers your question.

Thanks - well yes, looks like they are trying, but eeks, a bit complicated in terms of 'getting there'.

up
17

Labours rough policy on water has to be miles better than Nationals 'do nothing' non-policy on water & most policy areas.
Nationals 'policies' are: 'We will spend xxxx on Health' all of which is needed for the next 3 years anyway.
It's a Govts job to intervene and rebalance the power of the corporate world.
.
It's a good sign for labour that all the Media machinery is starting to gun for them. They must be a viable threat to National.

yeah .. go on mate , change the subject /// cover it up .... and hope that no one will take notice ...throw more mud at the voters until they give up ...lol

up
16

Well, back on topic then.
What exactly is Nationals water policy? Allow overseas companies and corporates to buy farms and do whatever they like including polluting water and rivers? Allow offshore companies to bottle free water and sell it?!

up
18

What concerns many National supporters, is that there are a good percentage of voters like myself who have never voted for Labour before and are not natural Labour supporters but will be prepared to vote for Labour or similar in 2017 simply to remove National.

Mortagebelt you are not alone. Many who have not been labour supporter - me including and many whom I know are going to Vote for anyone but national.

Change is imminent come election 22 Sep.

Mate,

I dont care what Nats policies are - and it is too naive to start comparing policies when you have a huge problem with the party Think Tank and the team who is driving it -- If National or any other party have done the same - dished out a hollow policy as important as this involving huge amounts of money, it would have been ridiculed the same way or even worse ...
We seek professionalism in our policy makers and representatives in parliament, this example showed that Labour don't know what they are doing!!

policies and their contents can be changed tweaked and approved after discussions and select committees etc ... but the way this was/is handled tells you volumes about the Competency and Capability of this 180 year old party standing ( by the looks of it) on its last legs.

Lol, and in 2008, most people voted National just to remove Labour ...

I was a labour voter for its last 3 terms in power ...in the days when they had a solid stand on things and good policies and people ( who expired in their last term).

up
20

You don't care what Nat's policies are full stop, not just in regard to this particular topic, you'll vote for them blindly.

You seek professionalism, and yet vote National, are you kidding me?

It's naive to compare policies?

Your posts are just absolutely bonkers.

up
14

Since Eco Bird is not aware of Nationals policies, here they are summed up:
To open up all of NZ and it's natural resources and it's consumers to global corporate businesses.
Then to shift around with minor policy tweaks shaped by poll feedback to try to keep everyone happy.

"To open up all of NZ and it's natural resources and it's consumers to global corporate businesses."
Correct but not quite, I am aware of that and they were voted in 9 years ago 3 times with all these policies well published and people went in with eyes wide open ...
Helen Clark was voted in because these same Nat policies were extreme at that time and they were booted out ... not all mining and resource policies are bad - we need to use these resource to advance - they have much more moderate policies towards assets and the family silver - and examples like NZ rail brings back horror stories.

However, does that mean that we need to replace them with such incompetent Labour teams ?? .... In my view, Labour follows a grocer's mentality in business and economy while National has more corporate approach ... good or bad depends on your ideology and what you value more in life.

Can the erosion of NZ's sovereignty be slowed down by a change of government?
'Corporate', today, means moving to a globalisation priority.

No, change of Gov is like changing a tenant in a heavily mortgaged house!

The erosion in any country's sovereignty continues as long as its has a hefty mortgage to service ( the National Debt ) and keeps adding to it ..... once you have one, you get lured to have more ... and organisations like the IMF need to be listened to carefully ( and obeyed). The key for getting out of it and regain your Sovereignty is by increasing productivity and saving hard to pay it off ... and become FreeHold ... but try telling that to your 4.5 million NZ consumers!

"Moving " is an incorrect term here ... we are in globalisation whether we like it or not ... and resisting that is foolish ..it will kick us out of the club for not wearing proper neck ties!

Holding a balance is the most difficult one, between preserving our pride or completely losing it ( it is known as riding the wave without getting too wet)

Interesting analogy there Eco Bird, could you tell me the current national debt for NZ? Has it grown over the last 9 years for example?

Could you tell me about productivity in NZ? What's driven the economy has it been productive growth or asset/debt growth?

Yes we are globalized that doesn't prevent us from stopping certain things that are detrimental to NZ, if we wanted to.

Bearing in mind the NZD is historically exceptionally high - what happens to the debt repayments if there's a currency correction?

The whole economy is precarious, and partially out of our direct control (NZD price), it should have been stewarded better, particularly by a party that prides itself as the party of economics.

You are right about the health and safety aspect. Gangs of untrained, non-drug-tested and probably unwilling youths would only be any use for digging holes and hammering staples and would have to be intensely supervised. No farmer would allow it unless someone else was liable for their health and safety.

sounds so much like the old PEP schemes which were a disaster by any cost to outcome measure
we used to supply the shovels for tree planting, they would lay them all down in a row back the truck over them and break all the handles then sit down and play cards all day.
this used to go on day after day.
the only way this policy will work is to put the farmers in control of the planting, give them the funds and let them employ the local youth and leave it to them to kick a few bums to make it happen

The inefficiencies in this plan are phenomenal.

A miniscule percentage of the money would be left for actually improving the waterways. Most would disappear into the black holes of iwi reparations and multiple layers of bureaucracy.

Here's an idea. How about use a carrot rather than a stick, and offer farmers and growers rate and tax rebates for environmental work.

I am very keen on clean rivers. Detail is the devil however and this quarter baked Labour policy won't do it.
This sort of second rate work comes from the Wellington civil service service tradition which has not produced anything practically workable for decades. We could make about 30,000 policy wonkies redundent there and get much better policy homework.

Our natural resources like fresh water belong to us all. Royalties are implemented so we all share in the natural resource wealth of our nation. The fact that it will be spent cleaning up after farmers means that the rest of us are still subsidising farmers. That money should go in a citizens dividend.

I do think that the end user has to contribute though, as pretty much producers of anything, anywhere in the world that we are buying/using are doing our dirty work for us.

up
14

Firstly water bottlers should pay a royalty -the same way gravel extractors, miners etc pay. It is ridiculously stupid to be giving away a valuable public resource to private companies worth millions for only a few thousand dollars of consenting fees.

Secondly polluters should pay -environmental costs should be paid by those that create the pollution. The real subsidy in places like Canterbury is farm owners (a minority even in rural areas) who are benefiting from increased dairy production whilst the community which used to enjoy fishing, river walks with dogs (warning signs are placed advising dogs could die from certain types of algae consumption) and swimming can no longer engage in these activities. This also puts tourist operators at risk -many of whom are rurally based.

Thirdly, farmers are huge users of water, by far the majority user. Further, the majority of farm use of water, is in Canterbury -from about 1000 dairy herds. This massively exceeds the use of water from Christchurch -the activities of over 400,000 residents and commercial enterprises.

Fourthly, whilst not defending Labour's announcement, Jacinda needs to take home some lessons on the level of detail needed explain new policy announcements, Alex is not much better in the expertise he is showing in his critique.

Alex makes a big issue of nitrogen not being mentioned. But Labour's announcement states they "will set strong nationwide freshwater quality standards, including for pathogens, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, periphyton a.k.a. slime, and macroinvertebrate health". High levels of nitrogen and phosphate runoff, depending on other conditions like, temperature and other nutrients creates the conditions which causes excessive periphyton growth, which depletes dissolved oxygen, which then eventually kills off all other waterway life. Setting an arbitrary nitrogen limit (or tradeable allocation scheme) probably wouldn't work -as appealing as it initially sounds -because the ecological system is a bit more complicated than that.

Fifthly, Alex and Labour, do not discuss that over irrigating causes excess nitrogen run-off. That if farmers monitored soil moisture more carefully they could still produce the same amount of milk, protein etc but from far less water. Farmers actually want to keep nitrogen on the farm -they need it for grass growth. The best practice dairy farmers in Canterbury only use 1/3 of the water of other farms. But many farmers have high volume water consents dating back decades so they have no incentive to decrease their water use. An across the board per 1000 litre charge in each region/water catchment area would encourage everyone to use water more efficiently.

Sixthly, Alex criticises Labour for creating an employment scheme where young workers assist with fencing and riparian planting. Saying that most of fencing is done and farmers themselves would be better at that. How much fencing has been done depends on what is consider a waterway -currently it is actually quite big streams and rivers. Farmers certainly have expertise when it comes to fencing but riparian not so much -and there is much less riparian planting that has been completed compared to fencing. Riparian planting is something that would benefit from a larger more systematic approach -with native plant nurseries, planting gangs and scientific expertise on what constitutes the best filtering planting system etc.

up
15

Had we had some form of royalty for irrigation water, perhaps many areas completely unsuited to dairying would never have been converted to it.

It would also encourage wiser use of water. Spray Irrigation in the midday sun is crazy, 70 % evaporates. Yet they do it , on the basis the water is free, your still getting 30%.That , and they are mortgaged up to the hilt to pay for the irrigators , they need every bit of production they can get .

That breakdown of freshwater allocation by use is:

Irrigation - 77%
Manufacturing processes - 11%
Public water supply - 9%
Stock watering - 3%

These are 2006 numbers - doubt the percentages ahve shifted much since then, but the volumes taken have increased since then given the number of our catchments that have gone into over-allocation.

I would think the irrigation share has increased since then, but thanks for the % break out.

Interesting charts here of NZ wide irrigation land use - 2015 data. Ngai Tahu, in Canterbury, have embarked on some very large irrigated conversions so these figures may have changed slightly since. refer pages 7,8
http://irrigationnz.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/INZ-IrrigationIndustrySnaps...

Yikes, 62% of all irrigation takes in NZ are in Canterbury (as at 2015). Hard to believe that more has been consented since then. I do wonder how history will judge the cancellation of democratic elections and the installation of Margaret Bazley - couldn't have happened without that.

How much in million m3 is that? What we do know is that Canturbury's 2015 water inflows (all most all precipitation) was 61 billion m3. (See Stats NZ water stock reconciliation.) I don't know the answer. But whether the current irrigation volumes are significant or not should be based on that. (And as far as I can see, irrigation water is not all 'lost' - almost all of it is only redistributed.)

Well that info should be published on the LAWA site.

For Upper Waitaki as an example, 84% of surface water is consented for irrigation, equating to 143,569,204 m3 across 66 consents;

https://www.lawa.org.nz/explore-data/canterbury-region/water-quantity/su...

Although as you will find, for a majority of the catchments, the data is not available. No idea why.

No Kate, approx 84% of Upper Waitaki consented allocation is used for irrigation. The figure for water available for consent isn't given.
Waitaki Irrigators Collective are running an 'Ask the Farmer' social media campaign. You can find the link to it here: http://www.waitakiirrigators.co.nz/

Thanks, yes my wording was sloppy.

Ta for the link too!

David this may help. The question was asked in 2016 and the reply relates to 2014/15 season - approx 4%of Canterbury's rainfall.
1. If there are now almost 6000 permitted water takers, what is the combined volume of water taken annually in the Canterbury Plains region?
The total volume of water taken annually from the Canterbury Plains varies year on year. We now have water meters in place for all takes greater than 10 litres per second which accounts for an estimated 90% of the total volume extracted. For the year 2014/15, July-June, the total measured water volume extracted was 3,194,759,406 m3. To place this volume in context, this is 4% of Canterbury’s average rainfall.
https://www.ecan.govt.nz/about-us/your-council/information-requests/

up
19

News Flash

The National Government has been subsidising irrigators in Canterbury. The development of irrigation dams and channels has led to establishment of large scale dairying conversions which are dependent on irrigation on a continuing basis. Federated Farmers say any royalty charge for that water supply would make these dairying businesses uneconomic and would therefore collapse

Any business that relies for its survival on government subsidies needs to be put out of its misery - pronto

yeah - talk is cheap ... kiwirail should be put out of its misery too eh? , how about NZ post or maybe few others like Team NZ ? .. so we end up with a bigger unsolvable problem?
Is there any wisdom in that?

Interesting, Lisa Owen put that point to Steven Joyce on the weekend and he struggled to respond. Pretty much agreed the farming subsidies exist but then pointed out that only rich countries are able to put money back into environmental clean up... or something to that effect.

Recycling Government Subsidies

Water royalties "might" bring in $500 million pa

Which is code for water royalties would cost dairy irrigators a good chunk of that $500 million

Then quote from Delboy upthread
National immediately received $500k in donations when Ardern became leader
That $500k is subsidy dollars being recycled
AND that's how the government indirectly gets tax-dollars into the hands of the party
In Australia that is called money-laundering

"Any business that relies for its survival on government subsidies needs to be put out of its misery - pronto'.

So you mean, like, landlord-ism and property investment?

Should have said "any private business" should be ...

As for negative gearing being terminated ... won't argue with you on that ...

Two Other Guys - Yeah - I am also trying to get my head around how land that is useless, tits/bull scenario can be given so much taxpayer money so that it becomes suddenly very valuable. Those positioned for this ( ie in the loop, nudge nudge, so to speak)are creaming it. Why should farmers sitting on very large family Estates be given govt (taxpayer) assistance when there are so many other issues crying out for help?

It is very easy to see why the rural community is trying to shut this discussion down.

The solution is to force the land owners to pay realistic prices for the water that reflect the cost of the schemes and the increase in land values, not just nominal fees otherwise ths is just another National rort.

Kiwis so dumb lah.

What about health, education, police are they not subsidised businesses too?

Or perhaps you're just cherry picking the business type.

Our understanding of the generation of Fusion Power is growing faster than Moore's Law so it may be very short sighted to write off Rail in NZ

Why is when it when a family asks for a roof over their head without the landlord moving them on every year to cash in on capital gains we as a nation decide today's youth have "entitlement" issues.

Yet we honestly believe exclusive access to natural resources should be free. I give up.

Not only that, but apparently (per the article) taxpayers should have a $400 million expense to fence waterways to support folk who are otherwise stridently 'free market'.

Money is what everything about now......doesn't matter what the issue is....will always come down to money

Alex, thanks for mentioning nitrates but I'm not sure everyone is listening.

One obvious problem with water rights/royalties/taxes/trading is that water is not just a consumable commodity that can be priced according to "demand" it is also an essential service. It flushes nitrates off dairy farms and similar stuff out of cities. There is a minimum flow required for that and you can't use that flow elsewhere even if you think you can afford the price. That requires a baseline flow availability that only be enforced by Regulation.

An even bigger problem is that we don't know what either the price (or the baseline) should be because we don't know enough about Nature and the damn thing just keeps changing on us. The Treasury report identifies this problem but then just charges on to advocate setting royalties according to "highest value use", based on perfect knowledge and foresight perhaps. Whatever regime is chosen it must be adapted, forcibly if need be, with our learning process. Markets probably can't do it. Regulatory uncertainty would be a feature not a bug.

Some regions have a nitrate problem, but P, sediment and to a lesser degree e-coli are bigger problems in most waterways. Nitrate may be trending upwards in some regions but by and large it is within acceptable limits, whereas e-coli & sediment will cause 'no swimming' signs to go up. Doesn't mean we don't have to do anything about N, it's about what are the real issues currently in a particular waterway. Fish and Game in Southland have said that sediment is the No1 issue for them in Southland rivers. Much harder for the media to report on that as it can have many and varied sources.

Yes, it is complex and we don't know everything we need to get it right first time. So the policies will just have to keep on changing and that is politically difficult, to put it mildly.

Will be interesting to see if the $500m is achievable. David Parker stated on tv this morning a charge of 2c cubic metre (1000 litres) for farming. No charge for stock water. We do not have irrigation so given it is irrigation water they are charging for, we would incur no cost on our dairy farm. But..if they decided to charge for water associated with cleaning dairy sheds, we would then incur the grand cost of $35 a year. - It would cost more to collect this sum than what they would get in. Alternatively we could purchase 3 plants for that $35 and plant them in our QEII area.
With respect to our orchard based on last season's usage it would cost us $185.86 a year.
It would be interesting to see what these figures would blow out to once regional councils added in collection fees and admin charges. ;-)

We currently budget on spending $1-5000 a year on environmental planting/management on farm and have done for some time.

Good on you . Unfortunately , (probably) a minority of landowners are not spending anything on Environmental mitigation
I would expect some of this money would be fed back through the regional councils to people such as yourself, to be used for water course protection.

There needs to be a nitrogen fertiliser tax introduced and ramped up over time, similar to the tax on cigarettes. A lot of farmers are addicted to using Nitrogen and put on as much as the current dairy payout allows them to do......they don't need to use nitrogen as the clover fixes plenty in the soil, its just that they have too many cows on their farms

You realise nitrogen leaching is not only a dairy problem.

From the Commissioner for the Environment:
"On a per hectare basis, the highest losses of nitrogen come from land used for
market gardening, in part because vegetables do not take up nitrogen efficiently.
The lowest nitrogen loss per hectare comes from forested land and scrub. Losses
from livestock farming lie in between."

And just this week:
"Horowhenua's reputation as the fruit and vegetable bowl of the lower North Island is in grave danger, with intensive crop farmers unlikely to be able to get resource consents unless changes are made.

Council strategy and policy group manager Dr Nic Peet effectively told the committee only 5 per cent of farms would have had big issues getting consents under the original One Plan. But court decisions meant the plan got to a point where anywhere between 50 and 90 per cent of farms would be unable to get consent because of nitrogen leaching targets."

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/agribusiness/95600485/one-plan-...

Donker - can o worms. You get nitrogen leaching from a ploughed paddock/dug urban garden with no urea added. If you are going to slam dairy with N tax best give up on fries (and salad) with that.

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00288233.2003.9513548

Looks like the trouble labour and the greens have had recently has helped peters a lot, things were looking good for national without him, that's over now, labour and the greens will keep getting stronger making peters even more the kingmaker, national WILL need the kiwis and kiwis assets and land comes first PETERS, the writings on the wall, Of course peters could surprise everyone and go with the new term of labour and greens, peters thinking he'd be the boss ,

Excellent article Alex.. You've certainly bounced a few Echoes around the Chamber here, to judge from the to-and-fro from the usual suspects.

There's no single reason why water is so difficult to deal with now. If a 'swimmability' standard is somehow defined, it would mainly concern pathogens (e.coli etc), turbidity (sediment load) and chemical load (nitrates, hormones, phosphates). On that definition:

  1. Nothing downstream of an urban treatment plant would qualify (hormones can't be scrubbed out)
  2. No braided river (east coast of SI) could qualify because of the high sediment loads during floods (and what floods they can be: see Rakaia youtube of 2013 flow - around 5000 cumecs here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9kOUu4eRFM and Waimak here ( - set the period to a year or more) https://www.ecan.govt.nz/data/riverflow/sitedetails/66401)
  3. Nothing downstream of a recently logged forestry area (sediment load)
  4. Nothing in an urban area - sediment and chemical load plus pathogens (Christchurch's Avon and Heathcote are the poster children here)
  5. Nothing downstream of wildfowl concentrations (pathogens)

These are examples where the issues are multifarious, complex and which tend to flow from configurations (geography, urban locations) or history (bush clearance, the 15-16th century bush burns to get that last moa, Gaia (the Murchison earthquake, which ranged from Kahurangi Point to Falling Mountain east of Arthurs Pass is a classic widespread river alteration which was assuredly not caused by humanity)) and so on).

Attempting to undo quite literally centuries of land changes and return water bodies to a state democratically defined, is a noble aim indeed. But it is quite conceivable that it, too, will take generations if not centuries. And there's always that wicked Gaia, ready to uplift, throw down, erupt all over, or generally upset our feeble little species, into the bargain.

Fiddling around with a few badly thought out economic carrots and sticks, and hoping that Nirvana will occur in a few years, is quite simply wishful thinking.

Its a question of degree, as always. Your never going to be able to have pristine rivers from source to sea. But you can preserve as much of a rivers length as possible. The recent program on the Mackenzie basin was an example. If they concentrated on the whole length of the river , you would get disillusioned at the scale of clean up required. But they cleaned up their head waters, so the 10 k.m or so through their farm was pretty pure. Its a matter of doing what you can where you can . It also males a difference when there is a volunteer or campaign group fighting for a particular bit of water to be clean.

And willing landowners / farmers help too. We really need to be patting the ones doing their bit on the back more.

Perhaps we should turn to the EU - they seem to have sorted out or pip fruit growers tout suite;

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/95595998/the-apple-and-pear-industry-we...

Note from the Sunday programme on TV1 about housing.
In London to get local govt backing and quick response, they have to offer up 35% affordable units in the development. That would really sort out the mess if land rezoning was allowed only on that basis.
Maybe unachievable but it shows how others are prepared to push hard.

Can you imagine the squealing if that were done here?

Rubbish half baked policy designed to pinch votes off the Greens.
A reflection of atavistic stalinist hatred of farmers(Kulaks??)
Taxing primary industries won't fix hundreds of years of ecoterrorism; you need workable goals and strategies to achieve them;none evident from Labour( or anybody else); there is no quick fix.

Will they pinch more off the Greens than they send fleeing back to National and NZ First with this policy.

Probably not, but with brilliant policy like bootcamps and fining windowwashers how can National miss??
Line 'em all up....

yeah it's pretty primitive, red neck stuff.
Really unsophisticated and simplistic.
They'll probably get a few votes from this kind of crap..... :(

"...atavistic stalinist hatred...taxing...ecoterrorism..."

Anyone for a game of NZ Politics Bingo?

Labour Samuels Taito Dyson Hughes

Hold on ............ most people pay for water in Auckland and its expensive over a year , but its also potable having been processed into something drinkable , hence the cost .

The cost is really very low on a per per litre basis , and water bottlers could not be expected to pay the same for raw water

I have not seen the numbers , but I suspect a royalty on raw water would be hard to implement, difficult to manage , and return very little to the Fiscus

The National party line - too complex, too hard, too difficult, Next

The National government don't care about Truth, they just want to remain in power and will do anything they can to use Sensationalism to do it. Unfortunately whipwords such as bankrupt and devastating to the rural economy are brought out prior to knowing what the charge is LOL

The spectre of an $18 cabbage raised by former National Party president Michelle Boag has been put to rest by Labour and IrrigationNZ.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/95881293/Food-prices-will-not-r...