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.