Taxing farmers who aren’t degrading water to help clean up those who are was always a bad idea.
At first what was left of the tax after some was given to Iwi was going to stay in the region from which it was collected.
Then the bad tax idea became worse.
At least some was going to go to other regions, maybe even urban areas.
Now it’s got worse still.
It wouldn’t even be used to improve waterways, some could be used for roads:
National Party Candidate for Rangitata Andrew Falloon is demanding clarity from the Labour Party on their proposed water tax which would have a big impact on productive businesses and jobs in the district.
“Labour have claimed in public that the revenue from their water tax would go toward clean-up of waterways.
“On Thursday night at a Meet the Candidates meeting in Temuka, Rangitata candidate Jo Luxton said that David Parker had offered some of the water tax revenue for spending on roads in a closed-door meeting with the Ashburton District Council.
“I’ve since had that conversation confirmed by an Ashburton District Councillor.
“Once again the Labour Party are saying one thing in public, and something else in secret.
“Either the tax is for waterways, or it’s a general extra tax on farmers and the productive sector.
“Three weeks out from the election, Labour still won’t answer basic questions about their water tax:
How much would it be?
How much would go to iwi?
What would the rest be spent on?
Why would major water users in urban areas, like Coca Cola, be exempt from the tax?
“David Parker and the Labour Party need to be honest with the people of Canterbury about how much the water tax would be and what they’d do with money raised from it,” Falloon says.
Parker has confirmed that some of the tax could go on roads:
When contacted on Friday, Parker said revenue would primarily need to be distributed to regional councils to clean up waterways.
However, money left over could be given to local councils, which would “decide what to do with it”, he said.
This means Labour hasn’t even bothered to find out if councils need more money to clean up water ways.
I hope no-one is holding their breath waiting for answers to the many questions raised over this tax.
Even if Labour did give answers, how could you trust them when what they say the tax would be used for changes so often.
Each change confirms that this policy is motivated not by environmental concerns but the perverse political aim to punish farmers and widen the urban-rural divide.