New Zealanders Own Water - Not for Sale
The New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers is calling for water royalties to be paid by all water bottling companies. In a response to reports that companies are not paying for the water they profit from, Federation president Graham Carter said water is owned by all New Zealanders and was not for sale, unless profiteering companies paid royalties..
"New Zealand’s pure, clean water is being taken by overseas companies - Fiji Water, Coca-Cola, Suntory Holdings, Oravida – for a token fee,” he said.
He said government via immediate past prime Minister John Key operated under a principle that water did not belong to anyone and illogically could not be sold by the Crown.
"Yet in typical hypocritical fashion that is exactly what they have done in that they partly privatised the power companies – which rely on water for power generation.
Giving foreign companies open access to New Zealand’s water resource – virtually in perpetuity – is plainly stupid,” said Graham Carter.
The sale of Otakiri Springs bottling plant to a Chinese company and the potential sale of other industrial properties around the country was a major public concern.
"New Zealanders should be in charge of our water. The government and councils have not been good custodians of this precious resource on our behalf.
Now in naive fashion, councils have granted these companies consents for a few hundred dollars and hold the rights for decades."
Anyone wanting to exploit the public’s water and wishing to export it should pay a substantial royalty to the Crown with a percentage of the royalty returned to the region from where the water was extracted.
“It seems the National-led government just does not care that big corporations are taking our water, and making millions out of it. The New Zealand public get nothing."
Graham Carter said National has also allowed “water sales” to grow as water is becoming a sought after commodity, much like gold, as consents were now being bought and sold.
Businesses that have been allocated a quantity of water to use, but no longer need it, should not be selling it. Any business seeking to use a large quantity of water must apply through the appropriate authorities.
“Importantly water consents must not be tradeable,” said Graham Carter. "The dangerous precedents being set by a corporate biased government is mess and needs to be cleaned up."