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National MP and candidate Barbara Kuriger has expressed disappointment at Labour’s proposed policy to tax water use by New Zealand communities.

“The Labour Party’s water tax would hit our regional economies hard by picking on our farmers, horticulturalists and wine growers and shutting the door on our strong primary sector,” Mrs Kuriger says.

“Waikato, King Country and Taranaki, areas of regional New Zealand known for their dairying and agriculture, would be hit hard by this proposed tax. 

“Labour have marketed this as a commercial water royalty, but make no doubt about it, it is a tax on our hardworking communities.

“This tax will hit the pockets of those who are the backbone of New Zealand’s economy, their families, and their towns. It will hit hard working Kiwis at their weekly grocery shop who would have to pay more for things like milk, fruit, and veges.

“There is more air in this policy than that which flows over our farmlands. Labour have not explained to New Zealanders who would get to charge, how much they would charge, and who gets all the money. Unsurprisingly, there is simply no detail.

“Recent surveys conducted by the Federated Farmers and Rabobank show that confidence in the rural sector is at a high, with data showing that farmers across all sectors are positive about the outlook for the rural sector.

“Primary industry export revenue is expected to grow to $38 billion this year, and jump by nearly 10% next year to $41 billion. Our primary sector employs over 400,000 people and accounts for a third of the world’s dairy trade.

“Slapping an additional tax on some of the hardest working members in our provincial communities is extremely disappointing and will slow our economy and export activity.

“My constituents know that I am a proud and passionate supporter of rural and provincial New Zealand, and I will fight to advocate for my communities at the highest level.

“One of the reasons I came into Parliament was to close up the rural-urban divide. With this announcement, the Labour Party intends on turning the rural-urban divide into a chasm. 

“National has worked hard – and has a proud record – of upping New Zealand exports, including those in dairy, horticulture, and viticulture, and this proposed tax is an affront to the hardworking Kiwis in our primary sector.” 

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