And petrol too.
Just like water!
Every individual in modern society, and all of our commercial enterprises, are fundamantally dependent on these “necessities,” so why shouldn’t they be free? Part of our natural right to a carefree existence.
Ridiculous, you say. It costs money to produce electricity and fuel … and someone has to pay. Plus, if we just gave them away, people would waste them.
Exactly … just like water. And the same logic should apply to water:
- Supply no longer wildly exceeds demand, and whenever allocation regimes are required, clearly value and preferential use are being created.
- It does cost an ever-increasing amount of money to supply and clean it, so why shouldn’t users pay, with the biggest users paying the most?
- And we waste it by the tankerload because it’s free, just as we waste everything that’s free.
At a very constructive forum last night sponsored by the local Green Party, a broad assortment of speakers endorsed the idea of pricing water …
The Chairman of the HB Regional Council, Rex McIntyre, and one of his Councillors, Ewan McGregor, endorsed it. The national co-leader of the Green Party, Russell Norman, endorsed it. Maori environmental advocate Morry Black endorsed it. Murray Douglas, president of the HB Chamber of Commerce endorsed it.
And elsewhere, I’ve heard Mayor Lawrence Yule endorse it.
Unusual bedfellows, I’d say. All we need is Federated Farmers (hmmm?) and we’d be through the logjam!
Water use is metered and charged for all over the world … it’s not exactly a wild and crazy idea.
As we are discovering in the case of global warming and greenhouse gases, give the population free use of a common resource, like the air, and we’ll muck it up. But now that a global carbon emissions pricing mechanism is coming into play, we’ll begin to see the abuse diminish.
Here in Hawke’s Bay (and throughout NZ), we’re well on our way to mucking up our most precious remaining common resource … our water.
To prevent further deterioration of our water supply and quality, there’s a huge menu of actions that can be taken … and accelerated. But all of these would have even more impact if taken in the context of a regime where water was priced.
Water pricing must be an explicit objective of central government and local government policy.
We can start here in Hawke’s Bay by asking each elected officeholder in the region — each and every councillor and MP — to explicitly endorse water pricing.
BayBuzz will be happy to publish the headcount!