What will your can­di­dates do with water?

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - OUT & ABOUT -

We’ve asked our read­ers what mat­ters most this elec­tion.

Each can­di­date was emailed the for­mat and the top­ics last week, and were given the same dead­line to pro­vide 150 words on the topic.

Be­low is a sum­mary of the can­di­dates’ thoughts on water, grouped by elec­torate.

SEL­WYN

In­cum­bent MP Amy Adams said Na­tional had done more than any pre­vi­ous Govern­ment to ad­dress long-term sus­tain­abil­ity of water and im­prove fresh­wa­ter qual­ity.

‘‘We have in­tro­duced the first ever na­tional water stan­dards in­clud­ing am­bi­tious tar­gets to im­prove the swima­bil­ity of our lakes and rivers. We’ve com­mit­ted over $400 mil­lion for lake and river clean-ups com­pared to a mere $29 mil­lion spent by the last Labour Govern­ment.’’

She said they had also in­tro­duced rules around water me­ter­ing and would de­velop stock ex­clu­sion rules.

In the Sel­wyn, Adams said Na­tional sup­ported re­gional water in­fras­truc­ture de­vel­op­ment schemes such as the Cen­tral Plains Water project be­cause they main­tained min­i­mum flow lev­els in rivers, used sur­plus water to re­lieve ir­ri­ga­tion pres­sure on ground­wa­ter and were ‘‘used in con­junc­tion with clear nu­tri­ent loss and en­vi­ron­men­tal rules’’.

Labour’s Tony Con­don said New Zealan­ders needed to ac­cept that the en­vi­ron­ment had its lim­its and they had been reached.

‘‘Clean fresh water is every New Zealan­ders birth right. It is an in­trin­sic part of our be­ing. Water is a ta¯onga, owned and trea­sured by all.

‘‘Yet our govern­ment con­tin­ues to pro­mote fur­ther land in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion and per­mits fur­ther large ex­trac­tions of our pre­cious water. re­ly­ing on tech­nol­ogy and known sus­tain­able prac­tices to deal with the neg­a­tive ex­ter­nal­i­ties. The sys­tems sim­ply can­not cope with that level of de­vel­op­ment.’’

Con­don said those who ex­tracted water for per­sonal gain needed to en­sure the ef­fi­ciency of its use and work to­wards re­pair­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age.

‘‘We need to re­think our water poli­cies,’’ he said.

The Op­por­tu­ni­ties Party’s (TOP) Nicky Snoyink said clean water un­der­pinned New Zealand’s econ­omy.

‘‘Ris­ing ten­sions be­tween com­pet­ing uses has cre­ated a ten­u­ous sit­u­a­tion. Pri­ori­tis­ing com­mer­cial water uses over public health and the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment is un­ten­able.’’

She said a tip­ping point had been reached for Can­ter­bury’s water and TOP recog­nised that long term sus­tain­abil­ity meant work­ing within strict, en­force­able en­vi­ron­men­tal lim­its.

She said her party’s pol­luter pays pol­icy would re­ward those do­ing the right thing and pe­nalise oth­ers.

‘‘[It] pri­ori­tises en­vi­ron­men­tal health and the well-be­ing of the many over the ben­e­fits to the few,’’ Snoyink said.

NZ First’s Lindy Palmer said her party was not in­ter­ested in charg­ing water roy­al­ties how­ever.

‘‘[We have a] strong em­pa­thy for ru­ral New Zealand and for our farm­ers. We un­der­stand the costs they have to pay are al­ready quite sig­nif­i­cant with­out adding to them.’’

She said water was a re­new­able re­source which could not be com­pared to oil or gold. The bot­tom line was that NZ First ‘‘can­not and will not sup­port any more ex­pen­sive food and power prices from Na­tional or Labour’’.

Palmer said her party was in­ter­ested in putting a royalty on all water ex­ports.

‘‘No-one should be get­ting our water vir­tu­ally free off­shore. In­ter­est­ingly the vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple we have spo­ken to, in­clud­ing Ma¯ori would pre­fer to see water taxed when sold overseas.’’

TE TAI TONGA

Ma¯ ori Party can­di­date Mei ReedyTaare said her party was com­mit­ted to rein­tro­duc­ing the Drink­able Water Sup­ply fund to en­sure every home was at­tached to a drink­able water sup­ply.

‘‘We will sup­port ru­ral, iso­lated Ma¯ori com­mu­ni­ties to gain ac­cess to a drink­able water sup­ply. We will en­hance Te Mana o Te Wai fund­ing to sup­port com­mu­nity projects such as plant­ing ri­par­ian buf­fers and es­tab­lish wet­lands.’’

She said the party would also es­tab­lish re­gional water au­thor­i­ties to man­age, clean and re­store wa­ter­ways along­side rights hold­ers and re­gional coun­cils.

‘‘We will im­pose a mora­to­rium on the sale of water ... so that is­sues around water, namely qual­ity, man­age­ment and own­er­ship, can be ad­dressed,’’ Reedy-Taare said.

The Green Party’s Me­tiria Turei said ‘‘water is life, ko awa ko au’’ had been the call from indige­nous peo­ple in Aotearoa, and around the world, de­fend­ing ac­cess to fresh, clean and safe water.

She said the Greens knew that man­awhenua had cus­tom­ary and pro­pri­etary rights in fresh­wa­ter and would hon­our that.

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