Oravida jumps in to export Kiwi water

Oravida jumps in to export Kiwi water

New Zealand water could be the next big export to China and one of the companies that has just jumped in for a slice of the pie is none other than Oravida.

The company is only paying a small amount to the council for the millions of litres it can take.

Stone Shi and Julia Xu are the brains behind Oravida, and part of Prime Minister John Key's delegation in Beijing.

They're now exporting Kiwi water to China as a premium product.

"It has been filtered for many many years, and through the filtration process it carries a lot of great minerals for bodies," Ms Xu says.

The pair's close personal ties to Judith Collins caused a huge political controversy in 2014.

They've now expanded from Scampi and milk, to water from a plant in the Bay of Plenty it bought for an undisclosed sum last year.

Oravida has a consent to 146 million litres of ground water a year and the regional council says Oravida pays an annual compliance charge of around $500.

Oravida markets the water at $1.60 a litre, meaning if all 146 million litres were sold it could be worth $233 million a year.

"The right to draw water is determined by the local council," Ms Xu says.

The Prime Minister says water could be the next big thing, saying the market is "potentially huge".

It's huge because of New Zealand's clean, green image, which Oravida is using as a key selling point.

The Government's official line is that nobody owns water -- but if you get a consent, it costs so little compared with the profits to be made.