Reacting to today’s statement from Labour on freshwater, and in the absence of any detailed policy to go with that, Horticulture New Zealand says “let’s not do this”.
“Extra costs on growers of fresh, healthy fruit and vegetables will make healthy food more expensive,” Horticulture New Zealand chief executive Mike Chapman says.
“This seems incongruous with policies around alleviating poverty and the benefits of healthy eating to reduce the economic burden of secondary health issues as a result of obesity.
“Horticulture New Zealand supports sound, consistent water policy to support efficient use of water and we have issued our own such policy (available here).
“But we do not support a blanket tax without due consideration of New Zealand’s water priorities as a nation. These priorities must include water for drinking, sanitation and food production.
“Today’s statement does not provide sufficient detail about Labour’s intentions, which should be made clear prior to the election. We don’t feel it is enough to say that if Labour forms the next Government, there will be a conversation about water within the first 100 days.
“There is already the Land and Water Forum which has been working on the wider issues of water allocation, rights and use for some time.
“Horticulture is a rapidly growing industry, contributing significantly to the economic wellbeing of New Zealand. Our vision is healthy food for all forever. We do not want to see the cost of fruit and vegetables grown in New Zealand, supporting local economies and providing jobs, pushed up higher than the cost of imported or processed food. We do not believe the long-term outcomes from a blanket water tax would benefit New Zealanders.”