National accuses Greens of hypocrisy over water

  • 19/08/2018

National says it's bizarre the Greens want a review into water extraction rights of overseas land buyers, because they've already authorised at least one big sale.

The Greens wants stronger tests set for land sales involving water takes. But National land information spokesperson David Bennett says the party has already allowed a Chinese bottled water supplier to snap up land.

"It's just not consistent with what they promised pre-election. It's the result of… people putting pressure on them to try and be consistent with their promises."

Co-leader Marama Davidson said on Saturday the Government is considering whether to allow the "benefits to New Zealand" criteria for sales to include water extraction, in amendments to the Overseas Investment Act.

"I'm stoked to announce today that the review of the Overseas Investment Act will now look at putting the protection of water at the heart of decision-making," Ms Davidson said in her speech to party members at the Green Party annual conference on Saturday.

Mr Bennett says the Greens' new promise is designed to placate angry party members, disappointed with what the party has achieved so far.

"They're merely just parking it to try and take the heat off themselves for not living up to what they promised."

Minister for Land Information Eugenie Sage, a Green MP, approved the sale of rural land near Whakatane to a Chinese water bottling company earlier this year, saying there was nothing in the law to stop it.

Eugenie Sage.
Eugenie Sage. Photo credit: File

"This is not a decision that aligns with Green Party kaupapa and policy," said Ms Davidson, but Ms Sage "was constrained by the law".

"We are now aware that the changes must be made through the Overseas Investment Act so that we don't have to make these decisions further down the track."

The Greens want Treaty of Waitangi and environmental concerns to be a factor in sales to foreign buyers.