May 07, 2019
Iwi excuse for water rights market
Libertarian public policy think tank the New Zealand Initiative says fear of treaty claims has hampered efforts to address fresh water allocation and protection.
In a report, Refreshing Water: Valuing the priceless, Initiative chief economist Dr Eric Crampton says cap and trade solutions similar to an Emissions Trading Scheme for fresh water have been proposed, but blocked by fear of sparking Treaty claims.
He says resolving rights issues around water is an essential part of natural justice and it can be the foundation for a better water management system.
His report proposes a mix of market forces and environmental constraints as the best way of valuing and sustaining freshwater resources.
Current consent-holders, including farms, industries, commercial users and councils, would see their existing consents converted into tradeable water permits, while Crown negotiation with iwi and hapū would provide a tradeable water allocation and confirm kaitiakitanga over rivers.
Reductions in water use in overallocated places would come through a combination of time-limited rights and Crown buy-back of water rights through the trading system.
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