Government body looks at market for all water
"If one owns the commodity of 'water' and takes financial benefit of it, one should also shoulder the responsibility of 'water damage' and be financially responsible for that!"Featured comment
The government's Land and Water Forum is looking at a market for all water.
Forum chairman Alistair Bisley confirmed on TV3's The Nation programme at the weekend that a market was one of the options being considered in its next report due by the end of the year.
The forum brings together over 80 water users including power companies, Fonterra, farmers, iwi and recreation and conservation organisations.
Its task is to reach a consensus on water policy for the government.
Mr Bisley said one of those options was having a look at market mechanisms of various kinds.
"If you’ve got more water than you need given the way your business has evolved you might want to be able to transfer it to someone else," he said.
"So one of the questions is, would it be better to do that, to make transferring water among various players easier?
"And is one of the ways you could do that allowing them to buy and sell, not the water itself if you like, but the right.
"We're looking at a range of things, but one of them is definitely whether or not you need to use pricing mechanisms to allow it to be distributed more dynamically, to move to its best use over time."
A former Whanganui Iwi representative on the forum, Nancy Tuaine, said the mixed ownership process for asset sales had added urgency to the water debate for Maori.
But she said it was broader than just thinking about money. And she said the Forum had provided an oppurtunity for discussion about the broader issues – including the market.
"We've been going since 2008 in building that process where we're all sitting at the table, to share each other's aspirations in relation to water, but also to have the hard discussions," she said.
"But that sharing of our particular aspirations has been critical in this process and that’s something that doesn’t necessarily happen as the nation. We don’t share enough about what water means to us, and why we are having to have this grievance heard through those processes."
Watch Mr Bisley being interviewed on The Nation here.