Labour's Rip Off Water Policy Mindless

It’s not easy to repeatedly be the subject of the adage ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’, says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“We’ve had our policy for royalties on bottled water exports for well over a year.

“The first part of Labour’s policy is not new, it’s borrowed.

“The second part, that is new, is just economically dangerous.

“Labour is extending the policy and putting a royalty on irrigation water, imposing a cost on nearly every primary producer in the country, when these producers are not comparable with water bottling firms.

“Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern says she will sit down with primary producers to ‘get this right’ and work out how much will be charged, but this is just a pretence that Labour will be responsible with them.

“Labour has had nine years in Opposition to work this out, but they’re going to wait till after the election to set the fees, at which point primary producers will be defenceless.

“They should be demanding to sit down with Ms Ardern now.

“Remember their tax policy is coming – from a post-election review.

“A charge on irrigation water will make our primary exports less competitive and the cost of groceries will go up as meat, milk and cheese prices rise to meet farmers increased costs. It will also affect fruit and vegetables.

“And what is the alternative when producers go out of business, import the food from overseas? This is mindless.

“Under New Zealand First’s policy – any water bottled for export will pay a royalty, and 25% of the royalty would go back to the region where the water came from. This royalty applies to all extractive industries.

“Labour is also ripping off New Zealand First’s longstanding Work for the Dole scheme in employing young people off the dole to gain work experience and income while helping to clean up waterways and the environment.

“The policy was part of New Zealand First’s coalition agreement with National in 1996, but Labour scrapped it in 2001. Now they claim it is part of their solution.”