Troubled waters debated
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.