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Green Party announcement: charging on water bottling and a moratorium on new plants

Written By: - Date published: 3:26 pm, July 9th, 2017 - 117 comments
Categories: disaster, election 2017, Environment, greens, water - Tags:

That’s an immediate 10 cent/litre levy on water bottling and exports and a moratorium on new bottling consents until water protection is sorted out properly. The gist of the overall policy is to reprioritise the integrity of water ahead of commerce. This is a values based shift backed up with the intention of solid action once in government.

James Shaw:

“Forty-five thousand New Zealanders – the equivalent population of Nelson – have to put up with faecal contamination in their drinking water at least once a year, and some communities have to boil their water every single day to make sure it’s clean enough to drink,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

At the same time, water bottling companies are taking the purest, cleanest water out from under our feet. They bottle it and sell it and pay practically nothing for the resource. New Zealanders are more and more aware of what an injustice this is.

“New Zealanders shouldn’t have to worry about whether the water coming from their taps is safe to drink, or whether there’s enough of it, or that water bottlers are getting the cleanest water.

The Green Party press release:

Protecting drinking water

New Zealanders can’t take clean drinking water for granted anymore, but the Green Party will fix that. No one should have to worry that the water coming from their taps isn’t safe to drink.

Water bottling companies profit from some of our purest and cleanest water, but pay only minimal administration fees for the privilege, while some communities around the country have to boil water before they drink it.

The Green Party will put an immediate 10 cent/litre levy on water bottling and exports. Revenue will go to mana whenua and the wider community through local councils. Local councils will be expected to use it to clean up waterways, and protect drinking water sources and infrastructure.

In government we will develop a new way of allocating and pricing all commercial uses of water, based on shared values of protecting fresh water, honouring te Tirirti o Waitangi, and upholding mana whenua rights. This will involve nationwide meetings and hui to involve all New Zealanders in the process. We expect tangata whenua will play a critical role in this process.

New water bottling consents will be banned until we have the regulation in place to ensure priority is given to good supplies of clean drinking water for all New Zealanders. We will protect drinking water sources from the activities that pollute them with pathogens, sediment, run off and nitrates.

And, we’ll reinstate funding for programmes that help small communities and marae upgrade their drinking water systems, so everyone has access to clean, drinkable water.

More information:

Additional key points from the RNZ report:

  • The bottling water charge would be split between local councils and mana whenua.
  • Councils would be expected to use the money for environmental programmes and drinking water management.
  • The party would reinstate the Drinking Water Subsidy which previously resulted in $100 million over 10 years being allocated to small communities.
  • Those communities would receive upgraded equipment and technical advice to help access clean water.
  • The party would make changes to the Resource Management Act and the National Environment Standard for Drinking water.
  • Councils would be required to prioritise drinking water when making decisions about allocating resources.

Lots of good stuff there to go with the Greens’ belief that water will be a key issue in this election for many New Zealanders.

More Green Party water policy is in the Clean Groundwater Bill and the main Environment Policy.

117 comments on “Green Party announcement: charging on water bottling and a moratorium on new plants”

  1. Crunchy 1

    “New Zealanders shouldn’t have to worry about whether the water coming from their taps is safe to drink, or whether there’s enough of it, or that water bottlers are getting the cleanest water”
    Are the loony Greens suggesting we truck water from the springs to those who think they need to boil their water?

    • Sacha 1.1

      Gosh, was this too many big words for you?

      “The Green Party will put an immediate 10 cent/litre levy on water bottling and exports. Revenue will go to mana whenua and the wider community through local councils. Local councils will be expected to use it to clean up waterways, and protect drinking water sources and infrastructure.”

    • Andre 1.2

      “The bottling water charge would be split between local councils and mana whenua.
      Councils would be expected to use the money for environmental programmes and drinking water management.”

      It doesn’t appear that way. Although the councils that collect the levy might not be the ones that need the money to ensure a safe supply to their residents, so there may be a mismatch there.

      • weka 1.2.1

        Do you mean like the intended bottling plant on the West Coast paying money to the local council but the local area’s water is fine? Honestly, I think there are very few areas of NZ where that would be true, although South Westland is probably one of them (Shouldn’t be taking water from there anyway).

        • Andre

          More like any area where the council-supplied water is so dodgy it needs to be boiled is unlikely to attract a bottler willing to pay 10 cents per litre.

          • weka

            in the Havelock North contamination the council was taking water from a higher aquifer and the local water bottling plant was taking water from the deepest aquifer.

            • Andre

              Ya reckon anybody’s going to be keen to start up a new water bottling plant in Havelock North anytime soon?

              • weka

                No, but if the Greens are in govt they won’t be allowed to any way 🙂 I’m talking about existing plants.

                • Andre

                  Come to think of it, they could get Gwyneth Paltrow to market it through her GOOP brand. Surely she’d be able to spin a good yarn about its bioactivity. Something about a cleansing purge, maybe?

          • Wayne

            Where are the places on municipal water where it is routinely required to boil all water (except in the occasional emergency)? Basically I reckon the answer is zero.
            As for the 10 cent levy, well presumably it would apply to all users of water for beverages (soft drinks, beer, wine, etc). Will the Greens, operating in their usual banning mode, intend to stop new wine and beer producers? The ban on new fresh water producers is a typical virtue signalling move by the Greens.
            Their standard modus operandi is either to ban something or hold an inquiry into it.
            Having said that no doubt the policy will appeal to existing Green supporters, but will it appeal to other people sufficient to get them to change their vote to Green.

            • Andre

              “Where are the places on municipal water where it is routinely required to boil all water (except in the occasional emergency)?”

              I dunno. Onehunga? My first smoko there I filled a glass of water from the tap and went to drink it and the long-timers shouted “no, don’t do that”. The line came from James Shaw apparently being quoted in the OP.

              Personally I’d advocate a high levy where the water is for direct human consumption. Because quality is of paramount importance. It also speaks to the principle of returning to the commons some of the value created by maintaining the commons in good condition. A much lower charge seems appropriate to me for agricultural and industrial use where quality demands are lower.

              • Wayne

                Is it really true people in Onehunga have to boil their water to be safe and that this is never reported in the media?
                I simply don’t believe that is the case. It would be a major scandal if tens of thousands of people in Auckland were required to boil their water daily. And it would not go unnoticed.

                • Andre

                  1.frivolously disrespectful, shallow, or lacking in seriousness; characterized by levity

                  Surely I didn’t need to clarify that? In any case, go back up to the post and check where James Shaw is quoted in it.

              • Cricklewood

                The water in Onehunga is fine I drink it often.
                Not the best tasting but a long way from the worst a definetly safe to drink.

                • Andre

                  The expressions of fear and concern on my new co-workers faces as I lifted the glass to my lips were so genuine I never actually sampled it. That was almost twenty years ago so maybe it’s got better.

                  • Cricklewood

                    Im guessing so my family and i have been drinking it for almost 5 years as do many friends.
                    Its certainly better than many supplies ive tried in major world wide cities.

                    • Andre

                      The worst I’ve had was a small town in Wisconsin. For a week I refused to buy bottled water, despite all the locals telling me to. It just seems wrong to have to. But the tap stuff put velvet on my teeth and locked my bowels up solid. After the painful clearing of the logjam, I broke down and switched to bottled water for drinking and cooking.

            • weka

              Nice troll move Wayne. I didn’t see anything in the announcement about banning wine and beer, did you?

              Where are the places on municipal water where it is routinely required to boil all water (except in the occasional emergency)? Basically I reckon the answer is zero.

              Fortunately for us the Greens don’t lie and we don’t have to rely on your reckons. A quick google found these, but I suspect you can find the answer via health authorities if you are genuinely interested,



              • Wayne

                Read what I wrote. I specifically said that there are occasions such as emergencies where water boiling is required. But it is not the norm for any municipal water supply.
                As for wine and beer, yes I was being facetious. It was designed to point out there really is no difference in exporting bottled water and wine and beer.
                Incidentally I don’t have a problem with a water charge, but I do think it should be uniformly charged, at least as used by food and beverage producers. All beverage and food processing uses large amounts of high quality potable water. Why discriminate against a particular category of beverage and food producers?
                Obviously a water charge for irrigation and industrial use has to be a vastly lower rate, probably a thousand or more times less. Even 10c per 1000 litres of irrigation water would rapidly send most farmers broke.

                • weka

                  So exactly where to you place the line between occasional and ongoing?

                  The Seddon River, from the link above.

                  Council had secured land above the Seddon War Memorial for a new water treatment plant budgeted at $4.4 million that would provide clean drinking water to 200 homes in the township.
                  A completion date of February next year was likely, Rooney said.

                  The plant would provide compliance with the national drinking water standards and enable the township’s boil water notice to be reviewed and lifted.

                  As for wine and beer, yes I was being facetious.

                  So you don’t like the policy and bring in a specious argument based around your own values not the values of the people whose policy it is. Looked like a troll play to me. Just be up front and I’ll respect the argument more.

                  • Cricklewood

                    It seems a valid point why a levy on just water plants? Surely adding carbonation sugar and flavour nor yeast and hops shouldn’t exempt water use from a levy?

                    Which of the 3 does less social damage?

                    • weka

                      Are in favour of a litre price on those things?

                    • Cricklewood []

                      More a case of if you are going to charge for water it should be across the board not just those who dont ‘add value’ before export and I would wager that the breweries or Coca Cola use far more water than those bottling the natural product.
                      Probably need a 2 tier pricing as the volume required to produce fruit and vegetables for example would have major price implication at 10c per litre.

                    • Cricklewood []

                      To clarify im in favour of a per litre price for the water used to make those things.

                    • weka

                      that’s a commodities argument. And by all means make that politically and I’ll argue against it. But it’s not the kaupapa that the GP is coming from. They want to change the culture around our relationship with water. Centreing that on water being primarily a commodity isn’t the way to do that.

                • Keepcalmcarryon

                  “Even 10c per 1000 litres of irrigation water would rapidly send most farmers broke.”
                  Looks like they are massively unsustainable without free use of a public resource then doesn’t it. What’s the neoliberal handbook say about a business that can’t adapt and requires public money (480 million subsidy) to function? Innovate or go bust? That’s just for the lower classes.
                  I’m loving how many right wing spinners have turned up on this thread, they are exposed to public displeasure on this and they know it.

                  • Cricklewood

                    Trouble is you put a price on irrigation water and it is passed on inevitably in pricing you would be astounded at the volume of water going into fruit and vege production or how bout plant nurseries or garden centres they use huge volumes often wastefully levy them as well.
                    Basically its complicated and would prefer its broad ie all commercial users and set at a sustainable price with volume limits.

                    • Cricklewood

                      There is a really good spreadsheet here showing how much water to produce a kilo of product. https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/10/how-much-water-food-production-waste

                      Top of the list is 17000 litres of water per kg of chocolate… imagine the cost of a block with 10c per litre on the water…

                    • weka

                      That’s if you grow using a conventional/unsustainable farming model. The only reason we are doing that is to make money. If we want to grow food, we should be doing it largely without the kinds of irrigation we have now. That requires changing practice to regenerative ag which uses far less water. But what we are really talking about here is commodities not growing food.

                    • Cricklewood []

                      Without the water its very hard to produce the volume required to feed the cities especially when we have covered vast tracts of our most productive land with housing. Yield would go through the floor with likely 1 or 2 less crop cycles per year and even with highly efficient micro drippers the water use is substantial.
                      Not to mention the susceptibility to climate change.

                      With regards to changing our relationship with water we should be targeting those who waste and pollute it first I feel bottled water exporters are the wrong target. They are just politically expediant.

                  • Venezia


            • The Chairman

              “Having said that no doubt the policy will appeal to existing Green supporters, but will it appeal to other people sufficient to get them to change their vote to Green”

              According to the poll in the link below, charging a royalty will have a wide appeal.


              However, the Greens aren’t the only ones proposing this.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Whirinaki Boil Water Notice lifted

              That’s one such notice. I suspect that it happens more than we hear about nationally.

            • Chris

              “…but will it appeal to other people sufficient to get them to change their vote to Green.”

              Maybe. People have strong views against selling water right across the board. I wouldn’t expect you and your “log it, mine it, burn it” mates to be aware of that, though.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    It wasn’t so long ago the Greens opposed bottled water outright. Had to do with the carbon involved. Certainly intervention is required, the current government are desperate to facilitate the wholesale looting of any of our resources. Better to curtail the ‘industry’ outright than let it buy itself legitimacy with our assets.

    • + 1 Yep half way measures will not work. You can’t take climate change seriously and be in to bottled water.

      • weka 2.1.1

        They’ve said they’ll put a moratorium on new plants. Are you suggesting they somehow nationalise existing consents and shut them down?

        • marty mars

          The bottled water is low hanging fruit imo. The Greens can get a win for the environment, put the halt on a tiny amount of fat cats reaping the profits and thus can be seen as friends of the small people, position the move as protecting the right of people here to have clean water and therefore use it as a push (in like a needle out like a plow) to begin to bring other water issues into alignment.

          so yes I’d like the greens to go hard around the water issue.

          • weka

            That’s how I’d see it too. Much easier to carry on going after irrigation and dairying if this gets tidied up first and like you say, the framing of it as being about our own drinking supplies is smart. Teaches interconnectedness too.

        • Stuart Munro

          I’m concerned at how little respect was shown for the public interest in these resources – the bottlers have been given valuable rights for next to nothing, often with long terms. Some water rights have been transferred too, and despite a usage change, Gnat-run councils have rubber-stamped permits that should have had to be applied for as new uses. It would be a healthy message to send to the corporate sector, not to play fast and loose with key community resources, if they were shut down. So yes, I would say, shut them down.

          Make a proper set of criteria and let them apply – but neo-liberalism has created a lousy administrative habit of creating user charges for activities that should be simply banned. Similarly:

          Carbonated drinks should have maximum levels for sugar or HFCS (which progressively decrease to reduce public taste for sugar), not a tax.
          Supermarket packaging should be regulated, not taxed. Supermarkets could have at cost reusable jute bags in widespread use in a couple of months were they required to do so.

          Tobacco – should probably be banned. Were it a new product it probably would be.

          • BM

            Carbonated drinks have high levels of sugar because carbon dioxide is very bitter.

            • Stuart Munro

              Carbonated drinks have high levels of sugar because of the ‘sugar hit’ effect on consumers, and for mouthfeel.

              Taste is both habituated and subjective however – so that a steady decrease in sugar levels would not cause rejection. People would habituate to the healthier level.

            • Stuart Munro

              Carbonated drinks are sour, not bitter. They are acidic.

          • bearded git

            please please please either or both labour and greens put a 10 cents supermarket charge on plastic bags in their manifesto as a policy…..this has reduced usage by 85 per cent in the UK

  3. David Mac 3

    I was surprised to discover that they didn’t capture household water off their roofs in rural Sweden. The rain is toxic. Courtesy of the Gulfstream and the dirty industries in Norwest Russia and the Baltic states the rain is poisonous. The same conditions that placed Sweden in the firing line of Chenobyl’s fall-out.

    Where it is pristine, our clean water is special. Overseas companies coming in and bottling it up for international markets is stupid on so many levels. It reminds me of companies like BP going into African nations and taking a never ending dump from one end whilst scoffing resources at the other.

    I think water is a cool thing for us to be selling overseas. Due to Mother Earth’s cycle, we’ll get it all back to sell again. But why the hell aren’t we selling it? Putting it in a fancy glass bottles and selling it as teetotal champagne. Companies like Zespri have our Kiwifruit in supermarkets all over the world. Piggyback on their distribution chain. I have no issue with the business aspect, but it should be making yours and my life better, not building a 200 room mansion for a faceless fatcat in Barbados.

    • weka 3.1

      Lots of reasons to not sell it.

      Carbon miles.

      Plastic pollution both direct environmental and the contribution to endocrine disruption in mammals (including humans).

      If Sweden or where is polluting so badly that it can’t drink its own rainwater, then we need to not supply them with the dwindling global supply and instead require them to clean up their mess.

      Water shouldn’t be commodified. Look at the US where rivers no longer run to the sea. Commodification of water is directly related to environmental degradation. That’s a values based issue for NZ.

      • David Mac 3.1.1

        Carbon miles? Disconnecting from all export marketing is an option. It’s not one I support. If we’re exporting something, I believe a premium brand of water would be amongst those options with the least enviro impact.

        Yeah, plastic sucks, it should be pitched as a premium product and packaged in glass.

        Sweden has nothing to do with their toxic rain. It falls through clouds that have drifted over the Baltic Sea from Russia. Putin is tough when it comes to lobbying.

        I think water should be commodified for the purpose of creating a low impact international export market.

        • weka

          Glass has more carbon miles, and you still have an end use issue as well as resource issue for both the glass and the water.

          Plenty of other ways for NZers to make a living. And bottled water isn’t low impact. It’s part of a massive impending problem globally. Do you know who we export our water to?

          “Sweden has nothing to do with their toxic rain. It falls through clouds that have drifted over the Baltic Sea from Russia. Putin is tough when it comes to lobbying.”

          Sweden isn’t an island, it benefits greatly from the globalised economy. We all have responsibility here.

          • David Mac

            Yes weka, there are always a 1000 reasons why something can’t be done.

            I’m more of a why not guy. It’s an attitude that pays my bills.

            More carbon miles for glass, ok cool. Transport it in tankers and bottle it in the country of consumption in a bottle designed specifically for that market.

            If Sweden could get Putin to clean up his Siberian Nickel plants they would.

            I think the constant barrage of ‘Can’t do that’ when it comes to making money juxtaposed with ‘We must spend more money on this’ from the Greens robs them of credibility.

            • weka

              I’m not saying we can’t do it (as in it’s not possible, obviously it’s possible). I’m saying we shouldn’t do it because it causes damage.

              The Greens have some of the best costed policies in parliament. They understand very well the need to earn a living without making a mess, that’s why they exist. We have better ways to live than this.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I’m more of a why not guy.

              And then you ignore all the reasons why not.

              • David Mac

                Draco, you’re for banning all exports and imports, we’re poles apart long before we start discussing ‘what products’.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  you’re for banning all exports and imports

                  I’ve never said anything like that.

                  And you’re still ignoring all the arguments for why we shouldn’t be commodifying water. Ignoring all the limits that nature has in place.

                  • David Mac

                    On the 5th of July you posted…

                    “A government that issues it’s own money never has to go into debt even when running a deficit. Done properly it could even get rid of the so-called Business Cycle and fully develop the economy while eliminating the need for exports and imports.”

                    I’m not ignoring the objections to the commodification of water. I’ve addressed them. A 10 cent per litre tax is commodifying water. I’m suggesting we export it for the betterment of our nation rather than accepting a half bucket of milk from someone else’s Kiwi cash cow.

                    • David Mac

                      When we sell milk powder or an eye fillet, we’ve lost them forever.

                      With water, the bottle we sell in Brussels, the product will be returned to us free of charge during winter for us to repackage and sell into Brussels again.

                      Does commodity trading get any better than that?

                      Our isolation from world markets has traditionally been a hurdle, along with our global reputation it can be spun to work in our favour.

                      NZ was the last nation on Earth to push up from the seafloor, freshest in the world. Kiwi water lends itself to a compelling marketing story.

            • Stuart Munro

              Yeah – you weren’t a ‘why not guy’ when we were talking about a local pharmaceuticals industry. What you actually are is a shill for the lousy policies of the current government.

              • David Mac

                I’m not sure I follow? I think a local pharmaceuticals company is a great idea. Are you sure you’re spitting in the right face?

      • Andre 3.1.2

        Bottled water usage is so tiny that it is irrelevant to rivers no longer running to the sea. It’s irrigation and city water supplies doing that.

        Total worldwide bottled water usage forecast for 2017 is around 390 billion litres. To put that into perspective, it’s a week or so of the Waikato river, or a bit over a day’s worth of what they were spilling over the Oroville dam, or 0.1% of just the evaporation losses from reservoirs worldwide. I’d bet good money that just golf courses use a lot more than that.

        • weka

          It’s a values/cultural issue. Once you commodify water then there is always a push to take more and it’s easier to take once it’s commodified. The thinking you’ve just expressed is pretty much exactly what farmers say about their irrigation takes. There’s plenty of water, don’t worry. Pretty sure that in the US they didn’t start out going “we’re going to take water until the aquifers are fucked”. They started out with “it’s ok to commodify water because there’s heaps of it”. Once you get there, it’s hard to put it back the way it was. We’re already well on our way in NZ and that’s not even getting to what’s going to happen with climate change.

          • Andre

            It’s already commodified here in New Zealand, and has been for a long time. It’s also the very definition of a renewable resource. The question is, how are going to choose to manage it? At the moment we’re letting it be a lolly scramble free-for-all, so the incentive is to get in first and suck as much as you can.

            Levying bottled water returns some of the value back to the commons. It also creates powerful economic interests trying to protect water quality against those who would pollute it because they want to be able to dispose of their waste for free into the environment.

            It’s a little bit like the battles to protect wild rivers I had a bit to do with in the 70s and 80s. Just whitewater users and other outdoorspeople had a real uphill battle against the economic arguments. But as soon as rafting became popular and the was even a hint of an economic argument for the rivers, suddenly the battle became a lot easier.

            BTW, I would have easily won that bet. Fucking golf fucking courses just in the land of fruits and nuts alone suck up more water than the worldwide bottled water industry.


            • weka

              “It’s already commodified here in New Zealand, and has been for a long time.”

              Yes, exactly. Which is why we now have rivers full of shit and nitrates. That’s what happens when you treat water as an extractable resource.

              This is a values issue. The way one thinks about water affects how one treats it.

              • The values are difficult/impossible for some to get their head around – it is always like this and one reason this type of discussion is a lesson in tenacity or futility…

            • Draco T Bastard

              It’s also the very definition of a renewable resource.

              It may be renewable but it’s limited within that renewability. Only so much rain falls every year. Taking more than that is unsustainable.

              We should have researched those limits before it was commodified. Hell, we should have researched it before we started farming here really but there was, and still is, the belief that it’s all unlimited and that we can take as much as we like.

              Doing that research, placing those limits in place and then setting up an auction can then set the price for the water. That price should be paid to the local council and should never be privatised.

          • Andre

            Oh, and bullshit on US authorities thinking they were only taking a little bit and it wouldn’t matter.

            For the Owens Valley, they knew they were shafting the locals and making it near impossible to continue agriculture. They went ahead and took the water because they could and fuck the locals.

            Same with the Colorado River. They knew they were sucking it dry and leaving nothing for Mexico and the Gulf of California ecosystem. They didn’t care, coz they didn’t need to care.

            • Cinny

              Andre… did you know that when a ship comes to collect NZ water, the ship will be using salt water as ballast.

              Said ship will dump the ballast saltwater in our sea and tank up with fresh water for export, then head back to their home port and repeat.

              I’m not comfortable with that, especially if the ship was ex China, with ballast seawater from a busy chinese port being dumped into Jacksons Bay.

              “It’s our water and our wildlife that are potentially affected and yet the council pushed this through, in secret, behind closed doors, with no opportunity for the public to make submissions.”

              Maybe after seeing the clip maybe you won’t be so comfortable with it either.

              • Andre

                I didn’t see enough info in that stuff piece about the water extraction side of it to form an opinion. But for what it’s worth, what I remember of a nearby proposed scheme (maybe the same one) which involved building a weir and pipeline through kiwi habitat in a National Park falls into the category of trashing an environmental treasure in my books. So I’d be strongly opposed in that case.

                I agree ballast water is a huge problem, and even organisms hitchhiking on the outside of a hull are a problem. Those are questions that also need to be answered for things like cruise ships going into Milford Sound. So to my mind before a scheme like that gets approved, there need to be investigations around things like flushing the ballast tanks multiple times en route, and maybe simple sterilization precautions like adding lots of salt after the final flush still far away from NZ.

                • Cinny

                  That’s the one Andre, same scheme as the one going through the kiwi habitat.

                  Flushing the ballast tanks as you describe could help. Would be nice to think they would do the final flushing as far as ‘outside the line’ EEZ. But they will still need ballast from there to Jacksons Bay.

                  No doubt they will make sure the tanks are clean as can be before filling them with our pristine water, but where will this happen, and is there a way for it to be monitored. What goes on at sea stays at sea.

                  At least with the Greens proposal their will be monies to clean things up. Or if environmental disasters occur from extraction/transfer.

                  Good point re the cruise ships and milford sound. Because we all know if it lightens the load then less fuel is used, phenomenal amounts of rubbish are heaved over the side at times, especially once a ship is full of water or people or fish or whatever it is carrying.

      • alwyn 3.1.3

        “the dwindling global supply” Why do you propose that the global supply is dwindling?
        It fact I would expect that in a situation of global warming the global amount of rainwater would be increasing. Increased temperature leads to increased evaporation from the oceans and thence to increased rainfall.
        The driest continent on earth is probably Antarctica because it is the coldest.

        As far as pollution goes I would also suspect that it is declining. People are getting a great deal more touchy about it though.
        In the 1960s to 1980s the worst pollution was in the Eastern Bloc countries adjoining the Soviet Union. Their Governments didn’t give a damn about pollution. These links are merely examples.

  4. greywarshark 4

    The Greens are thinking laterally with an eye to bettering now and protecting the future resource needs as well. We obviously need more thinking than what we get from the practical pragmatists who regularly pop up here, holding themselves out to be wise in the ways of business and economics and planning.

  5. Cricklewood 5

    I think bottled water should be encouarged. Compared to irrigating farms etc I’d much rather it went into bottles and sold at a premium. Im fine with a levy and anyone doing it must ve paying tax in NZ. Compared to turning into milk its a very efficient use of water not to mention far less polluting.

    • David Mac 5.1

      Yes, when we look at the total impact of exporting a kg of milk powder, a log, a lamb chop or the stuff that falls out of the sky…I think there is a clear winner.

      In Doubtless Bay at the moment if a water tanker vessel was fitted with giant rainwater capture funnels it would be full and ready to sail by lunchtime tomorrow.

  6. greg 6

    what the greens are proposing is common sense not to allow the plunder by special interests of the public commons only the rwnj born to rule would abject.water around the world is becoming scarce so much so the elite want all the water rights.

    • David Mac 6.1

      Yes, the neoliberalism aspect sucks. If we’re selling it my Mum should be getting a nylon knee quicker and your kids’ class numbers halved.

    • Cinny 6.2

      Strongly agree with you Greg

  7. McGrath 7

    One thing I never could understand is why the Councils were giving water away for (virtually) free? What benefits were gained, unless there were some “backhanders” going on… I’d be charging $1 per litre taken if NZ water is that highly rated.

  8. Incognito 8

    What a coincidence; I just wrote a slightly off-topic comment under a different post here that fits well here.

    Skepticism cynicism lies and hypocrisy

    To me, the question is what greater or common good does this bottling and exporting of water serve? Does it get exported to people or places where there’s a genuine need for clean water that cannot be addressed by other means?

    For example, from the paper discussed in the other thread:

    On the other hand, current estimates of the money needed to provide 80% of rural populations in Africa with access to water and sanitation by 2015 amounts to only US $ 1.3 billion per annum [17].

    If it does not serve a greater good, despite a pathetic levy that might be put to good use here in NZ, then we have reason to be sceptic of the rationale and the business case put forward (as with the mining of iron sands, for example).

    An even more compelling reason to prevent commodification of water is a moral & socio-cultural one:

    Various environmentalists have criticized valuing the environment solely as a basic resource for humanity, as done in the present paper.

    Their positions are genuinely non-anthropocentric: either nature as a whole or parts of (nonhuman) nature are assigned some moral value. Hence the whole ecosystems or even the climate system have to be valued for their own sake, i.e. not merely due to their value for a sentient being.

    I would like to think that the Green Party would be more sensitive to such arguments than to accommodate the purely economic reasoning by a few with invested business interests.

    The environment usually succumbs to a thousand small (anthropogenic) cuts rather than to one big (natural) disaster (http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/94441539/Kaikouras-alien-landscapes-Once-lively-seabeds-now-a-wasteland).

  9. Cinny 9

    Well done Greens, maybe some companies won’t want to pay the 10cents per litre and just shut up shop. A bit like the foreign trusts.

    This policy will be easy for the public to understand, and everyone appears to be pissed off about the ‘water bottling’ issue.


    • Ian 9.1

      Everybody is pissed off because they are being mislead.The water bottlers are low hanging fruit.Dairy farmer’s are the real target.
      Today the green party ensured they eill be spending another 3 years in pplitical oblivion
      Winston will be laughing himself to sleep tonight.
      Sausage fingers,sorry.

  10. Simon 10

    Looks like the cost of hydro electric power is about to go up. Iwi will get a well deserved payout though.

  11. mosa 11

    Great ” common sense ” policy from the Greens.

    Water is and will be a defining issue in this election campaign.

  12. Michael 12

    A good effort by the Greens – although I’m sure they know their only coalition partner will never let them implement it.

  13. Yet the greeds support pollution of said water via 1080 poison, go figure?
    Can we get a discount if our water is full of poison?
    They are just so full of BS
    It is fine to let all other spices suffer agonizing deaths

  14. And @ 10 cents per Lt your big Mac and chips would cost about $95.00 not including the water it took to grow the spuds

  15. Norfolk Traveller 15

    Water is a naturally occurring, renewable resource. The wind is also a naturally occurring, renewable resource. As is solar energy. Surely if the Greens were consistent, they would propose a charge for wind or solar energy harnessed for power that is later sold for profit?

    • weka 15.1

      Technically fossil fuels are a naturally occurring, renewable resource, just not in time frames that suit humans. What you are saying only makes sense from the perspective of economics being separate from the natural world. In the natural world (which excels at sustainability), wind and sun are quite obviously different than water. Can you pollute wind and sun? Can you make them run dry? Can you interrupt their natural cycles? To the extent that that impacts negatively on ecosystems and other life forms?

      For all intents and purposes sun is an unlimited resource in terms of its origin. But there are still limits to it. There are only so many square kms of solar farms we can build. Ditto wind. They’re both energy streams that are essentially perpetual. But water is different, it’s a physical substance, and because it’s a closed loop that cycle can be disrupted and it can be locked up in ways that humans can’t use (oceans, polar caps, polluted bodies of water etc). That’s what is at issue here, we are reaching the limits of growth and our tendency to pollute is about to bite us big tim.

      Besides, the Greens are putting a price on water because we live in a neoliberal country where that is one of the few remaining brakes on plunder. If we lived in a society that was sustainable, we wouldn’t have gotten to this ridiculous point in the first place. Water would be seen as having inherent value, and where used by humans it would need to be done with the full understanding that the economy is a subset of the environment. i.e. don’t shit in your own nest, esp if you want to have kids that have kids etc.

      • Norfolk Traveller 15.1.1

        “Besides, the Greens are putting a price on water because we live in a neoliberal country where that is one of the few remaining brakes on plunder.”
        So, why would they not then put a price on solar and wind?

        • weka

          Because solar and wind don’t need protecting. Other than that, what would be the point?

          • Norfolk Traveller

            The water that is bottled doesn’t need protecting. It is a plentiful, renewable resource.

            • weka

              I’ve explained why I think that’s not true, I suspect you aren’t reading my comments properly (or are failing to understand the points). By all means ignore the arguments instead of rebutting them but don’t expect to be taken seriously.

              • Norfolk Traveller

                You’re saying the reason for putting a price on something is to protect it. (“Because solar and wind don’t need protecting.”)
                I’m saying the water being bottled doesn’t need protecting either.
                Your argument fails.

                • weka

                  If you want the government to put a price on wind and solar make your argument. If you are saying that because of your personal beliefs the Greens policy fails some abstract argument that isn’t even about their own values, then I’m bored and out of here.

                  • Norfolk Traveller

                    I’m saying that the Greens position is hypocritical if analysed rationally. They argue that businesses who are profiting from a clean renewable, plentiful resource (water) should be taxed, yet they are not making the same argument for solar or wind. Why not?
                    James Shaw’s statement also vaguely asserts that ‘dirty’ water could be replaced with the clean water being commercialized by these nasty capitalist water bottlers. That is misleading, to say the least.

                    • weka

                      “I’m saying that the Greens position is hypocritical if analysed rationally. ”

                      It’s actually not rational to expect a party to fit into your ethics and world view rather than it’s own. You’re trying to parse their policy according to your own ideas that don’t apply to the policy.

                      “Why not?”

                      I’ve already explained, you’re not listening.

                    • Macro

                      They argue that businesses who are profiting from a clean renewable, plentiful resource (water) should be taxed, yet they are not making the same argument for solar or wind.

                      Clean water from an aquifer is not an unlimited resource, it may be replenished over time, but unlike wind and solar it is possible to draw down on the reserve to the detriment of other users.
                      But you convince yourself of their “hypocrisy” if you must. Your argument fails to convince anyone else.

                    • McFlock

                      They argue that businesses who are profiting from a clean renewable, plentiful resource (water) should be taxed, yet they are not making the same argument for solar or wind.

                      If wind could be bottled and exported, you’d be at risk of over-exploitation.

                    • Norfolk Traveller

                      “Clean water from an aquifer is not an unlimited resource…”
                      I said ‘plentiful’. Wind is plentiful, but it isn’t always available. There are many, many similarities, yet the Greens only want to tax one.

            • Janet

              To hold our ecology and environment which was formed by so much water it needs protecting.

              • Norfolk Traveller

                Our ecology and environment were formed by sun and wind, as well.

                • And inanity, Norfolk Traveller. Don’t forget, your world is formed largely of inanity.

                  • Norfolk Traveller

                    A strange response in what was as sensible discussion.

                    • “Our ecology and environment were formed by sun and wind, as well.”

                      Gravity too, and the influence of the moon. There’s surely a place for those in a sensible discussion like this.

                    • Norfolk Traveller

                      “Gravity too, and the influence of the moon. ”
                      Indeed. Shall we tax gravity?

                    • Gravity is already taxing, especially when you’re overweight.

                    • weka

                      “Gravity too, and the influence of the moon. ”
                      Indeed. Shall we tax gravity?

                      Thanks for finally being honest instead of disingenuous. You object to the tax, you’ve got no good reason so you try and make up some shit about the GP values. Just be honest and say you don’t like taxes.

                    • Norfolk Traveller

                      “You object to the tax,”
                      I object to hypocrisy.

            • Stuart Munro

              “Although the levels of phthalates in tested bottled waters were low, one should not dismiss that these chemicals may cause endocrine disruption through several mechanisms, especially to potentially vulnerable populations such as infants and pregnant women.”

              The bottle is part of the problem.

    • And they might want to suggest that as the power flowing through the national grid over/ on private land is 49% owned by the likes of J Key and his mates, that the landowners at least get a fair rent … yeah right

  16. Janet 16

    Water, air and unpolluted soil are given and basic needs of life not wants. We should treasure and protect these three elements. They should not be sold, exported or have value attributed. They should remain eternally free for human household use.
    Greens would do better to be considering population containment so that New Zealand stays able to live within the restraints of its own natural productivity going forward, rather than coming up with yet another way to “sell” our water and ship it to other parts of the world.

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