RNZ - Labour's water tax policy uppermost in voters' minds

Labour's water tax policy is giving National and other parties something solid to fight as they try to blunt Labour's rapid resurgence - and the message was heard by voters at a meeting in Southland.

With less than a fortnight to go to the election, National is hammering home Labour's water tax plan to rural voters.

One of Jacinda Ardern's first election pledges as Labour leader was to introduce royalties on bottled and irrigated water if elected to government on 23 September.

National's Hamish Walker is pushing his party's policy hard as he campaigns for the Clutha-Southland electorate.

Mr Walker started campaigning just a month ago after being selected to replace disgraced MP Todd Barclay.

At an afternoon meeting at the Top Pub in Winton, Mr Walker told a group of National voters the water tax would hurt them.

"Do you think it's fair that Coca-Cola in Auckland consume the most water in terms of bottling, but they won't get charged under Labour's policy because they get that water from the city town supply?

"Yet they're willing to tax the living daylight out of farmers and not even give you any detail," he said.

Labour has not confirmed the size of the royalty it plans to charge, but said it was likely to be set at a few cents per litre for bottled water, and one to two cents per 1000 litres for commercial irrigators.

The plan is giving National and other parties something solid to fight as they try to blunt Labour's rapid resurgence, and it is hitting home with National voters.

The message is certainly being heard in Winton, a National stronghold.

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