Misinformation dampens concept of Water Tax

Thakur Ranjit Singh

Disinformation and misinformation on Labour Party’s Water Policy shows why it is so urgent for New Zealand’s education system to strengthen its third ‘R’, Arithmetic in particular and Mathematics in general.

It appears that many political leaders, journalists and media commentators are grossly misinformed, without the ability to differentiate between a litre (just one litre) and cubic metre (1000 litres) of water.

Learning basic Measures

When Labour Government comes into power in a month’s time, it should have special Arithmetic classes for journalists and a few elderly political leaders, to ensure that they do not make a laughing stock of themselves. As a first lesson, they need to know the difference between a litre and a cubic metre of water.

A litre of milk uses some 960 litres of water to produce. At Labour’s proposed tax of 1 cent per cubic metre (1000 litres of water) this will cost less than a cent per litre. So, what is the issues here? Where do they get their figures from?

No wonder, National Government should have invested in mathematics teachers, so that politicians and the public can grasp simple Arithmetic.

And the Beehive needs to conduct Mathematics classes for Parliamentarians, so that people like Winston Peters and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy are better informed and enlightened on intelligent water debate and modes of measuring volume.

Minister ignorant

Mr Guy made a spectacle of himself when he could not differentiate and distinguish between a litre and a cubit metre of water. He said that it took 900 litres of water to make a bottle of wine, and a 10c per litre charge would add $75 to a bottle’s price. He does not even appear to have facts as a Minster to credibly debate an issue.

Labour’s MP and Environment spokesperson David Parker corrected Mr Guy, pointing out that Labour would charge by the cubic metre and not by litre. Hence, a tax of 1 cent per cubic metre would therefore lift the cost of a 750ml bottle of sauvignon Blanc by less than 1 cent.

Those politicians, radio talk back journalists and misinformed DJs at radio stations, not comprehending simple mathematics need to distinguish water measures between a litre and cubit metre.

Farms Taxation

Under farms taxation, you pay only one cent for 5 x 44 gallons (204 litres) drums of water (1000 litres). For a cabbage to cost $18 each, it needs to take 8800 of 44-gallon drums or 1,800,000 litres (yes, 1.8 million litres) of water to grow. That can fill a few swimming pools.

Mr Parker said that Labour Party was proposing charging 1 or 2 cents for each 1000 litres farmers use – but the details are yet to be hammered out with those involved. He said erroneous claims that such levies would equate to $50,000 a farm are rubbish.

“It would be about $100 million across the whole of the country for a year,” Mr Parker told Q+A on TVNZ.

Perhaps Winston Peters can tell us which thirsty cabbage would need a few swimming pools of water to grow.

Mr Parker said that NZ First’s cabbage example was “amusing” and at a million litres of irrigation, it would indeed make one extremely watery cabbage.

Thakur Ranjit Singh is a Political Observer and Media Commentator. He runs ‘Fiji Pundit,’ his Blog that covers a variety of subjects. He lives in Auckland.


Photo Caption:

Even this giant, 18 Kgs Cabbage would not suffer a cent of Water Tax

(Picture supplied by author)


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