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Trout Anglers Back PM’s Public Water Ownership 


Water was a public resource and should not be owned or given away, says a national trout fishing advocacy.


President of the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers Graham Carter of Hamilton said water was a public resource owned by the people irrespective of wealth or ethnic background.


Graham Carter was commenting on a recent statement by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern that water was a public resource.


"Who owns the water? Labour says everybody, National says nobody, but the Waitangi Tribunal says Maori,” said the prime minister.


The Prime Minister’s edict of public ownership was challenged by the former government’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson  who warned that Labour's proposal for a tax of about 2c per 1000 litres on commercial waters users could force Treaty of Waitangi settlements to be renegotiated because a royalty asserted ownership, and would inevitably force a counter-assertion that Maori owned the water.


Graham Carter said Finlayson’s statement was nonsensical particularly given his background as a treaty negotiator and then his performance as minister. He said he personally did differ from the Prime Minister Adern  who praised Finlayson’s performance as treaty minister. “Finlayson is wrong, Adern is  correct . Beside the chairman of the Maori Council and ex-Waitangi Tribunal, had dismissed Finlayson’s fear mongering,” he said.


Graham Carter said despite the Prime Minister’s assertion of public water ownership,  the public wanted quick action in restoring depleted and damaged waterways.


“New Zealand needs to speed up access to safe drinking water and sanitation for all, boosting efforts to cut water pollution, reusing wastewater and enhancing the coherence between water, food and energy policies,” he said.
Water access was a human right recognised by 189 countries within the United Nations.


“Water belongs to everyone and must not be allowed to be “hijacked” by the government and its agencies, councils, private corporations and foreign interests,” he said.


“Whoever controls water controls a great source of power and of course a great source of profit, the resource cannot be managed privately … and untamed privatisation will lead to a disaster.”


Furthermore it was imperative that government boosted efforts to cut water pollution, of reusing wastewater and of enhancing the coherence between water, food and energy policies, as well as implementing more flexible and integrated land and water resources management.


Contact: Graham Carter  021 026 00437