Water: we’re giving it away

When Nick Smith was questioned about the fact that overseas-owned companies can export freshwater they have bottled for free here in NZ, he answered that there is plenty of water, and at the moment there are only a few companies involved. Our most precious resource and indeed necessity is being bottled and sold offshore for 100% pure profit. Companies pay only minimal resource consent fees, but no royalties on the resource they are taking. But I guess that’s what the Government means by “no one owns water”; let’s just give it to the corporates.

The first problem with this is the breach of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. But what about the proprietorial and kaitiakitanga rights of tangata whenua? The second problem is that with advancing climate change and risks from regional drought we will need all our water. The third problem is that in some regions food producers are already struggling to get a fair allocation of water without it being sucked up and offshore. Then there is the state of our rivers and aquifers, they need cleaning up rather than further exploitation. The new export bottling company in Hawkes Bay has had two shiploads of bottled water returned from China because the water was too contaminated with nitrates to meet their drinking water standards.

Call me old fashioned but if we cleaned up water we could drink it from the tap and from the waterways rather than littering the world with our plastic bottles of alleged pure water. Achieving clean drinkable water in all our rivers and aquifers may be some way off but in the meantime the last thing we should do is allow it to be sold for nothing and exported to other countries where they too  need  to clean up their water.

There is a valley of sacred springs in Golden Bay with a beautiful interpretation walkway which tangata whenua have developed for everyone’s appreciation of the sources of life. The water is translucent and pure but a bottling company now have rights in the catchment  with no reference to tangata whenua. The same thing has happened at Poroti near Whangarei. This is wrong and the Government needs to address it urgently.

8 Comments Posted

  1. Presumably under the TPP these companies could sue the Government for expropriation, in the event that royalties were enforced?

  2. This is bonkers! We have completely sold out. Our govt has no integrity and it will be over for NZ if we have to have National for another 3 years.

  3. Urgent petition needed as this must be stopped immediately! This is plundering and looting at the most fundamental level and should not be legal at all. Our water must remain onshore.

  4. So many NZers pay water rates or have to pay 1000s to fill tanks. ..but overseas corps get it for free!!! What is the government getting out of this that we dont know about? ?!!
    I see a riot coming and its all because of corporate greed…but do they take any responsibility…of course not!!!

  5. Tena koe Catherine

    I am from waitoa in waikato east myself and others have developed a better farming practise programme based around soil and water management into the future we have been working independently from govt funding so that the results are not corrupted as most as funding is put up by the chemical feet companies that continue to promote these poisons that are killing our soil and water and US my whanau are local Hapu and would like to maybe meet with you some time soon as we are really struggling to keep going financially but the results speak for themselves there are better options and we have developed some simple solutions to start the cleanup my pH is 0210650112

  6. This is the bussiness savy National government??? Give away a valuable asset for free. I think youll find theres a fat handout somewhere! Or else drugs? WHO,s making d money?

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