A Labour Government will ensure that all New Zealand’s water lakes and rivers are swimmable, fishable and suitable for food gathering, says Labour’s water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri announcing Labour’s Water policy.
To clean up the nation’s freshwater inside a generation, Labour will introduce a National Policy Statement based on the principles of the Sheppard report which will enforce standards and dates when those standards have to be met.
“Our clean rivers and lakes must not be allowed to get dirty, and our dirty rivers and lakes must be cleaned up.
“As part of our clean-up we will also be introducing a fairly priced resource rental on any large water takes for irrigation.
“We believe that the use of water for irrigation is a privilege, not an inalienable right. A resource rental is the best tool for making sure fresh water is used efficiently. However we will support proposals for water storage and irrigation schemes provided they have a broad consensus from their communities.
“Labour will use resource rentals to pay for irrigation schemes rather than paying for them out of tax and asset sales.
“Dirty water is not just a rural issue and we will ensure our cities and towns carefully monitor industrial and domestic waste. Labour will also seek to resolve iwi and hapu rights and interest in freshwater through direct dialogue.
“We will not allow the privatisation of our drinking water, whether its supply or infrastructure. We are opposed to any trading of water and under a Labour government water surpluses will be returned to regional councils,” Meka Whaitiri said.