Trou­bled wa­ters de­bated

Clutha Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY-JO TOHILL

A wa­ter tax would crip­ple CluthaSouth­land, Na­tional Party CluthaSouth­land can­di­date Hamish Walker says.

At the meet the can­di­dates evening at Bal­clutha, he hit out at Labour’s fresh wa­ter pol­icy an­nounced last week, say­ing that if im­ple­mented, it would mean farm­ers pay­ing about $100m a year in ir­ri­ga­tion tax, and a roy­alty of 2c/1000 litres on ir­ri­ga­tion wa­ter.

It was a mis­con­cep­tion that farm­ers were wealthy, and could af­ford this, he said. Cities had to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for wa­ter qual­ity is­sues too, he said, cit­ing Auck­land’s ‘‘dirty wa­ter’’, and the degra­da­tion of ur­ban wa­ter ways.

Pat­ter­son said New Zealand First to­tally op­posed a wa­ter tax. He de­scribed it as ‘‘puni­tive and wrong’’.

Chap­man said no-one re­ally wants the tax, and Labour would not be ‘‘play­ing a blame game’’. Farmer’s weren’t en­tirely re­spon- sible for de­te­ri­o­rat­ing wa­ter qual­ity, ex­cept in the pock­ets where farm­ing had in­ten­si­fied, she said.

The Greens put for­ward an­other view, with a pro­posal to charge com­mer­cial wa­ter users a levy of 10 cents per litre on ex­port wa­ter, Gold­smith said.

‘‘It’s not right that it goes out of the coun­try for bug­ger all, ex­cept the re­source con­sent money and coun­cil fees.’’

She said the prof­its should be dis­trib­uted 50/50 be­tween the coun­cil and mana whenua.

Clutha-South­land can­di­dates at the Bal­clutha meet­ing, chaired by Ken Blair of Bal­clutha Ro­tary Club, at the South Otago Town & Coun­try Club.

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