Otago Daily Times - - Front Page - SHAN­NON GIL­LIES shan­non.gil­lies@odt.co.nz

ABOUT 80 peo­ple at­tended a pub­lic meet­ing at the Blind Foun­da­tion Hall in Oa­maru last night over Labour’s plans to tackle wa­ter­qual­ity is­sues and in­tro­duce a wa­ter roy­alty.

Labour’s spokesman for wa­ter, David Parker, started pro­ceed­ings with a pre­sen­ta­tion on wa­ter man­age­ment is­sues, in­clud­ing the degra­da­tion of a coastal es­tu­ary, in­shore fish­ing, and the need for some re­gional coun­cils to im­prove wa­ter man­age­ment poli­cies.

He came un­der fire from some mem­bers of the crowd over Labour’s wa­ter roy­alty pro­posal.

Mr Parker said what Labour was propos­ing was to charge 1c to 2c per 1000 litres of wa­ter for any­one who used wa­ter com­mer­cially from a river or aquifer.

One man asked why peo­ple sourc­ing irrigated wa­ter were tar­geted and not in­ter­na­tional cor­po­ra­tions based in Auck­land.

Dun­troon farmer Ge­off Keeling said if farm­ers were get­ting pinged us­ing the ar­gu­ment the roy­alty would be used to ad­dress wa­ter man­age­ment is­sues, then why were brew­eries not be­ing hit with a sim­i­lar tax to pay for the so­cial harms al­co­hol caused.

Is­land Stream farmer Mur­ray El­liott said he spent about $40,000 try­ing to find wa­ter on his prop­erty and was lucky to strike it, while two of his neigh­bours failed to achieve the same when they spent roughly $30,000 each.

He said if a Labour­led gov­ern­ment tried to tax him for the wa­ter he used on his prop­erty, he would in­voice them for the costs he had to pay to even be able to ac­cess wa­ter.

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