3 Feb 2012

Carter says water charges not on agenda for now

7:49 am on 3 February 2012

Primary Industries Minister David Carter says the Government may consider charges for water at some later stage, but that's not on the agenda right now.

Briefings for incoming ministers prepared by the Treasury and the Natural Resources Sector and Environment Ministry, suggest that the Government could consider a price on water to drive water use efficiency.

That has prompted the Green Party to renew its election campaign call for a price on the commercial use of water.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says it will be pushing the idea in its Memorandum of Understanding negotiations with the Government.

The Ministry of Agriculture's briefing paper also says there needs to be more effective tools for managing the allocation, transfer and efficient use of water, so that users face more of the real costs.

Mr Carter says it is too early to know what will happen with water pricing.

He says there is a possibility that at some stage in the future there will be a price associated with water, but it's too early to say as preparatory work is needed first.

"We've got a very clear agenda as a National government to find ways to better manage water for water quality purposes, to better manage the resource of water through water storage and distribution and certainly to make sure that the water that is available for irrigation is then used more efficiently than it may be at the present", he says.