11 Jul 2010

Irrigators want more water charge accountability

5:34 pm on 11 July 2010

The national irrigation body wants more industry input into how money collected from a new Canterbury water charge is spent.

The Canterbury Regional Council is introducing the charge to water consent holders this month in order to recover 30%, or more than $2 million, of the cost of scientific investigation and monitoring work for water management.

The remaining 70% will continue to come from general rates.

Irrigation New Zealand's chief executive, Andrew Curtis, says that consent holders will have to pay up to several thousand dollars a year and should therefore have a say in how the council spends the money.

"There should be greater accountability around what programmes are actually being undertaken and how much they actually cost," he says. "We're not entirely clear as to how this is going to play out."

Mr Curtis says Bay of Plenty and Auckland already charge for water and Hawke's Bay is introducing a charge for consent holders this month.