IrrigationNZ says the Green party’s water tax is ludicrous and detrimental:
. . . “Introducing a water tax will be ludicrous and detrimental for the country,” says Andrew Curtis, IrrigationNZ CEO. “The only robust and long term solution to restoring waterways is on a case-by-case basis engaging local communities to find solutions.”
IrrigationNZ agrees with the Green Party and with the National Party that stock must be excluded from waterways, riparian margins established and nutrients and contaminants need to be managed.
In addition, pest plant and fish species also have to be controlled to restore the natural habitat and most importantly – water storage and irrigation infrastructure needs to be developed within limits.
“If irrigation becomes too costly fewer farmers will implement it and water storage infrastructure will not be developed,” says Nicky Hyslop, IrrigationNZ Chair. “It would be foolish for New Zealand not to capture its most valuable resource, the world’s most valuable resource, just for the sake of punishing farmers.”
IrrigationNZ would like to re-iterate the following points:
• A water tax will lead to increased food prices and is inflationary
• In no other country in the world is there an irrigation tax
• In all other countries irrigation is considered a socio economic tool and is funded centrally
• The Green’s policy called: Smart Farming for Clean Rivers – ignores that some of the most polluted waterways are urban ones due to sewerage problems
• A water tax on irrigators is not equitable, all users if water, industrial and hydro electricity plants should be included
• A water tax as Green and Labour want to implement will not prevent land intensification – it will instead encourage it – farmers will have to seek higher returns to justify the increased cost of their water
• The water policies do not define what kind of ‘irrigation’ is taxable, or what size of water take is taxable
• A water tax will reduce money available for farmers to continue mitigating environmental impacts through new technology and nutrient management systems
• Irrigators are already spending billions of dollars of private investment improving our waterways
IrrigationNZ is committed to finding a way for New Zealand to develop sustainably managed irrigation schemes within acceptable environmental limits.
“Water is our most valuable renewable resource and we believe that irrigation in New Zealand is essential to protect against climatic variations and to enhance the country’s ability to feed its population and to contribute to feeding the world,” says Mr Curtis.
The Green policy is anti-farming, anti productivity and will penalise the majority of irrigators who farm responsibly to clean up after the minority who don’t.