10 August 2017
Clean rivers don’t cost $18 a cabbage
National is falling into a bad pattern of promising the world and not saying how they will fund it, says Labour’s Water
spokesperson David Parker.
“New Zealanders deserve an answer from Nick Smith on how he would fund his promises for cleaning up water. In Parliament
today, he said it would cost $100m a year for 23 years, but he has allocated only $10m a year for ten years in the
Freshwater Improvement Fund.
“Labour’s view is that we all have to come together to clean up our rivers and lakes for future generations. That is why
we are committed to a genuine swimmable water standard and a clean water royalty, which will assist regional councils to
“We will work with water bottlers, farmers, NGOs, Maori and the Treasury to establish a fair clean water royalty. It
will be fair and proportionate, allowing for differences between regions, quality, and uses.
“Labour will also help with our Ready for Work programme to employ young people, get them off the dole, and into doing
fencing and riparian planting.
“New Zealanders deserve better from National than silly claims that a clean water royalty will cost twice the country’s
GDP, which is so obviously ridiculous it only hurts Nick Smith’s credibility further.
“It’s truly concerning that the Nick Smith seems to be confused between a litre and a cubic metre, a thousand-fold
difference. Although that level of innumeracy does explain how he’s failed so comprehensively to fix the housing crisis.
“The example used by MPI Minister Nathan Guy of 900 litres being used for each litre of wine is informative. That is
under one cubic metre of water. If the price was one cent per cubic metre, the price effect per bottle of wine would be
under one cent. If two cents per cubic metre, under two cents - and that assumes no rates reduction from the money going
to the Regional Council.
“The NZ First example of $18 cabbages was amusing. That would imply about one million litres of irrigation per watery
“The closest to a sensible comment from the government today came from David Seymour of Act. He said ‘National’s
weakness and inaction on water has allowed Labour to fill the political void. ……’
“Labour’s commitment is that polluters will pay, not the environment, and not the taxpayer.
“It’s time for National to be open with the public. Why are they not releasing their plans on royalties for water until
after the election?” says David Parker.