Green Party pushes to have 'water extraction' assessed in future Overseas Investment applications

The Green Party says future changes to the Overseas Investment Act will look at water extraction and whether stronger tests should be set for land sales involving water takes.

Parliament passed the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill this week, which will stop overseas speculators buying up our houses.

A second round of amendments is being developed by Associate Finance Minister David Parker.

Speaking at the Green Party conference today, co-leader Marama Davidson said protecting New Zealand's water was a priority.

"In response to Green Party calls for action, the review of the Act will now look at how adequate the existing tests are before sales of New Zealand assets can go ahead," Ms Davidson said today.

"The 'benefits to New Zealand' criteria that can be used to approve or decline sales does not include water extraction – they should.

"Water is one of our most precious resources. Our lives and our environment depend on it.

"The National Government was happy to sell our land and our water with no constraint. This Government is looking at what needs to change to protect our resources for future generations.

"The Greens have secured a commitment that the review will consider whether water extraction should be a factor considered when weighing up whether a sale should be approved or not.

"We need to ensure that we are not giving away this resource to international corporations to reap profits from at the expense of New Zealand’s best interests."

She said that ministers could currently only consider benefits such as jobs and exports, in assessing applications, while environmental issues like water extraction were left to local councils to determine under the Resource Management Act.

"We will review the benefits test in section 17 of the Act and ensure consideration of water extraction issues is front and centre," Ms Davidson.

The major announcement comes as the party holds its first general annual meeting since being in power. Source: 1 NEWS