Federated Farmers is profoundly disappointed to see the Water Services Bill reported back to the Parliament with the definition of a “water supplier” unchanged.
“The government has now signed itself up for the enormous task of tracking down every single source of drinking water in the land and making them belong to a register if they supply any other household,” Federated Farmers president Andrew Hoggard says.
Despite extensive arguments from Federated Farmers and many others at the select committee hearings, tens of thousands of rural and farm supply arrangements will fall within the scope of the new water regulator Taumata Arowai.
The new agency takes over from the Ministry of Health to take responsibility for the quality and provision of drinking water in New Zealand.
“We wanted the government to recognise the folly of trying to track down every single little supplier,” Andrew says.
Feds estimates up to 75,000 drinking water suppliers could be affected.
“We asked for anyone supplying less than fifty people to be exempted, but in the end were not heard.
“The government has jumped in at the deep end of this pool and they are likely to drown their officials in the paperwork this decision is going to create.”
Some slight alterations were made around helping small water schemes with treatment systems and extending the time allowed for registration to three years, a change specifically sought by Federated Farmers.
“We know people are going to chose to opt-out of being a drinking water supplier, rather than face the compliance dramas.
“And that just means someone else is going to have to figure out how to supply those homes, marae and rural community centres with drinking water,” Andrew says.