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Labour can­di­date Dan Rose­warne said the topic of wa­ter al­most al­ways came up when talk­ing to peo­ple around the district, re­gard­less of their po­lit­i­cal lean­ings, in par­tic­u­lar com­mer­cial ex­trac­tion and pol­lu­tion of wa­ter­ways.

‘‘I share these con­cerns and be­lieve that ev­ery­one owns our wa­ter, but some have in­ter­ests in it that oth­ers don’t,’’ he said. ’’Large com­mer­cial users who profit from our wa­ter should pay a fair and af­ford­able roy­alty – for ex­am­ple, wa­ter bot­tling com­pa­nies. This rev­enue can help coun­cils re­store our wa­ter­ways for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

‘‘A roy­alty on the com­mer­cial con­sump­tion of wa­ter will as­sist with the cost of keep­ing our wa­ter clean. House­holds and coun­cils will not pay any wa­ter roy­alty. I be­lieve that it is the right of all of us to be able to swim in our lo­cal river with­out get­ting sick.’’

Na­tional MP Matt Doocey said Na­tional’s tar­get was to have 90 per cent of New Zealand’s lakes and rivers swimmable by 2040.

‘‘We know that rivers like our Ka­iapoi River are suf­fer­ing from decades of poor man­age­ment. I sup­port ECan’s work with farm­ers that may see them hav­ing to ap­ply for land use con­sent to con­tinue farm­ing. These mea­sures will re­sult in some in­stances sub­stan­tial re­duc­tion in cows in risk ar­eas.’’

Doocey said a wa­ter tax would be detri­men­tal to the pro­duc­tive sec­tor.

‘‘Waimakariri is like New Zealand, when farm­ing does well - New Zealand does well. In Waimakariri when farm­ing does well – we all ben­e­fit.’’

The Con­ser­va­tive Party be­lieved it was im­por­tant to re­tain wa­ter as a freely avail­able re­source, said can­di­date Ben Price, and there­fore was wary of sud­denly im­pos­ing taxes on New Zealand owned farms.

‘‘At the same time how­ever, we should not be giv­ing away such a valu­able re­source for free to for­eign owned en­ti­ties,’’ he said. ’’Vast amounts of wa­ter be­ing taken by com­pa­nies whose prof­its are sent off­shore, is not ac­cept­able.’’

De­ci­sions on chlo­ri­na­tion and flu­o­ri­da­tion should be made at a lo­cal level, Price said, by the con­stituents of the district, not at a na­tion­wide govern­ment level.

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