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.