Winston Peters rules out water tax in big play for regional votes

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NZN

Winston Peters has announced he won't support a water tax.

In an election campaign dominated by tax talk it was the NZ First leader with the big move today.
Source: 1 NEWS

The New Zealand First leader told more than 100 farmers in Ashburton today that a water tax policy "won't work".

Labour intends introducing a water tax if elected, which farmers fiercely oppose.

It also has a policy to bring agriculture into the ETS, meaning farmers would have to pay for pollution.

Mr Peters said NZ First wouldn't support that either.

He told the Federated Farmers meeting, in Ashburton, that a water tax of two cents a litre - Labour is thinking about one or two cents a litre - would cost the average irrigated farm in Canterbury $29,000 a year.

"The stakes are high because $60 billion is tied up in agricultural debt," he said.

It seems Mr Peters is sending the same message to both parties on his water tax stance, although National has said it won't bring in any new taxes if it wins the election.

"Both parties are getting the same message, we think you are the devil in the deep blue sea with this policy and we are opposing both of you on this matter," he said.

"Labour and National envisage the same sort of cost structure against rural regional New Zealand when it comes to water."

Mr Peters said his party's survival depended on it keeping its word after the election.

"We've been around 24 years and we'll be around another 24 by keeping our word."

Meanwhile, Mr Peters did state that he would like to see exported bottled water taxed.

"We were the ones that announced that any water bottled offshore should attract a royalty, and go to the region whence the water came to help pay for the infrastructure of the region," he said.

NZ First could hold the balance of power after Saturday's election.

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