20 Mar 2017

VIDEO: Bill English on water

7:54 am on 20 March 2017

Prime Minister Bill English may be open about charging companies for bottling water, but told Morning Report today that nothing would change before the election.

Mr English said there were a lot of difficult questions to be answered before there were any changes made to whether companies are charged for water.

Mr English told Morning Report the government had focused on the top priority, which was raising the quality of water.

"But the business of how you actually overturn a century or so, or more, of the law that no-one owns the water and no-one actually pays for the water - they might pay for the use of it or the facilities or the infrastructure - there are a lot of questions there that have to be answered."

Mr English said that after decades of talk about the ownership of the country's water, a "systematic way of dealing with it" was needed, and that would not happen before the country went to the polls.

"Our common law has been 'no-one owns the water', it's been pretty critical to New Zealanders' perception of how they can use it, access it, and so on, and then the tricky bit of who pays for what."