Northland dairy farmer Lyn Webster writes:
So let me get this right: You own the water and I am using your water on my farm and therefore I should be paying you some money?
But if you own the water then I must own it too. So I am using my water on my farm so therefore I do not owe you any money.
Oh, wait - am I using my water and a little bit of your water too - so I should pay you a little bit of money?
Are you not using your own water yourself?
I hope you are not using any of my water because then you would owe me some money.
What do you use your water for? I am using mine to grow grass and feed animals, which I milk. I then sell the milk to feed people.
Did I use water that you have paid to pipe and keep clean? Is this why I owe your money? When my water stops pumping do I ring you up and expect you to come out at any time and fix it for me?
If I have paid for a pump and pipes and I pay for the power used to reticulate my water around the farm as well as keeping it clean, why do you think I should pay you money for that?
But you say you have to pay money via rates to local government to do that for you. If it all stops working, do you ring up the council and complain and it miraculously gets fixed. Would you like me to pay for that then?
Did you know that I also pay for that on my rates, but I do not use it, because I have reticulated all my own water myself. Similarly, I take my own rubbish to the dump and have to drive for miles to see a doctor or take my kids to school.
I chose to live in the country, but weren't you just saying about how you subsidise my lifestyle?
Now you are mad at me because I am earning a living by taking your water, so I should be paying you some money?
You too could be earning a living using your water if you made the right investment. Let me warn you, it is pretty risky making money growing stuff, you have to be a pretty on-to-it sort of a person to get it all up and running.
It can be good though, because if enough people are successful at growing stuff, then everybody wins.
What was that? Now butter costs $6? Was that the butter made using your water, so then I must owe you money?
I worked seven days a week for 400 days to make that butter. What did you do? Are you a little bit jealous of me because you think my business is going ahead and you think I used your water, so I should give you some money?
Don't I deserve a chance to get ahead on the back of the hard work and risky investment I made?
Is there a shortage of water? Have I wasted a limited resource by including it in the food chain? Or has it rained nearly every day since June? Yes it has, how do I know because I was outside working in it.
Lyn Webster is a Northland dairy farmer.