THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017
Water tax 'not about bottlers' - they'd pay less than 3 per cent, says IrrigationNZ
Labour leader Jacinda Ardern should not answer questions about the party's proposed water tax by saying it's about
targeting water bottlers, says IrrigationNZ.
When Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was asked in last night's TVNZ Leader's Debate whether rural New Zealand had got
offside with her over Labour's proposed water tax, particularly the farming community, Ms Ardern answered: 'No. I
targeted water bottlers. . . I targeted water bottlers as that's something New Zealanders wanted, for them to pay their
While Ms Ardern went on to explain why farmers and growers were included in the plans, the impression given to viewers
was that a water tax was primarily about water bottlers.
IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis said: 'It is wrong to say a water tax is about water bottlers when water bottlers will
pay less than 3 per cent of the water tax. Farmers and growers will bear the brunt of it and pay 83 per cent of a water
tax. The remaining 14 per cent will be raised from other commercial users like food processing plants.
'Not only that, but commercial water bottlers on town supply won't be paying the tax. So it's not actually a tax on
water bottlers, only on some of them.'
IrrigationNZ is concerned that the impact of the proposed water tax on farmers and growers, and the wider New Zealand
economy, is being underplayed.
Andrew Curtis said: 'Earlier this week Jacinda Ardern said there were 12,000 farms in New Zealand, when there are 58,000
and that only 2,000 farms would pay a water tax, when it's more like 11,000. While her team later said Ms Ardern was
talking about dairy farms, these figures were widely reported as the water tax impacting only 2,000 farms.'
He added: ‘IrrigationNZ does not support a water tax, because it will be too complex to administer, impossible to be
equitable, and it will create a raft of unintended economic and social consequences. The Maniototo community in Central
Otage clearly demonstrates this - $2 million being taken from a community of under 2,000 people is nonsensical,
particularly when water in the district is excellent.
‘No country in the world that has implemented a water tax.
'If a water tax is about water bottlers, then IrrigationNZ calls on Labour to publicly abandon its plan to tax the
farmers and growers who feed New Zealand and play a significant role in our vibrant export industry.'
Notes on figures:
(1) Figures are based on consented water use. Data on water used for irrigation and water users not on Council water
supplies is sourced from www.lawa.org.nz
(2) Jacinda Ardern stated in this interview that water bottlers on Council water supplies would not pay the water tax
(3) The figures assume commercial water users not on Council supplies would be charged at the same rate as water used
(4) The amount of water used by water bottlers is taken from the NZ Herald research. The Herald requested data from
regional councils in May 2017 and from this determined the amount of water consented for water bottling
(5) Jacinda Ardern stated that companies using water for bottling would pay ten times what farmers did, giving a charge
of 10 cents per 1,000 litres (if a tax on irrigation is 1 cent per 1,000 litres) or 20 cents per 1,000 litres (if a tax
on irrigation is 2 cents per 1,000 litres)