Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan: Let's drink to the wealth we've ignored

Money in the hand: water is an increasingly precious asset. Photo / file
Money in the hand: water is an increasingly precious asset. Photo / file

Do they only send Nick Smith out to say the really absurd stuff? Or is it just a knack he has? Maybe if he announced the sky is blue, it would still tumble from his mouth like clowns from a tiny car.

In response to public outrage over water bottling companies taking billions of litres of drinkable water, while paying a few hundy for the privilege, probably in $50 bills, our Environment Minister said: nobody owns water.

Maybe he's right - maybe nobody owns water.

But clearly, that's not something we should be saying out loud, to people we could sell it to!

Dude! Why don't you go out back, stack some shelves. Someone else will mind the cash register.

This principle, that nobody owns water, doesn't seem to have stopped water bottling companies from gaining ownership of water, for free, then selling ownership of water, for a fortune, to consumers who pay more, per litre, than they do for petrol, presumably to chase the quarter-gallon dream of owning water for themselves.

Well, you showed them, didn't you, Nick Smith. Those fools, deceiving themselves with a Ponzi tulip bubble!

You win. You get the satisfaction of being correct, in the dimly-lit monastic garret of your mind. Your quill-drawn equations are much more correct than the exclamation filled spreadsheets, bulging bank statements and hidden offshore vaults of the multi-billion-dollar bottling industry.

Meanwhile, we as a country - men, women, and children - could've all retired, yesterday, on this liquid treasure in the ground that's suddenly become the most desirable resource in the galaxy. But no: you stick to your guns, Nick Smith.

He said it would "create anomalies" if bottling plants had to pay for water, while soft drink companies or beer companies don't. And of course, there's dairy, the elephant messing the room.

Fine! Let's "create anomalies" - all the way to the bank! Whatever your philosophical beliefs about who owns clouds, or the sky, let's not donate to corporations so they get to make the billions. Let's make the billions ourselves!

We don't have to be greenies. Let's be greedies. Where's the state-owned water bottling company? Why aren't we the country where the police drive Lamborghinis?

Why aren't we the country where nobody pays a cent of tax, because we be rich, baby!
We'd be better off if Jed Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies was in charge. He at least knows gold when he sees it. (Black gold. Texas tea.)

Water is the new gold. Water is the new oil. And it's our dumb luck to have billions upon billions of litres of it. Let's not spit in the face of luck. Luck works. Luck made Donald Trump rich, at birth. We've been rich this whole time. This is Antiques Roadshow, and we just found something valuable in the cellar.

Have you seen the world recently? Billionaires are buying NZ citizenship, to avoid the apocalypse. High-decile, modern parts of the world, don't drink their tap water. Let's take the advice of One Direction, and know that we're beautiful.

Smith said: what next, air? Well, there are laws governing airspace. Councils tell you how high you can build. Airlines take big detours around certain countries.

Our country, our rules. The Government just redefined 'swimmable' as fresh water where the turds aren't the size of legal snapper.

So let's just declare that they - we - own underground water. You want it? Round these parts, we charge by the barrel. You think the Saudis have a problem with owning the oil under their ground? Do they say: Nobody owns oil! Know what they don't have? Water.

Let's see who gets thirsty first.

And if there's anomalies, how about we discuss it over a leisurely breakfast, next time we're all in the Caymans, or Klosters.

Once upon a time, nobody used to own land. Then the Government wrote some laws. Presto. Suddenly, there was private land, public land, zoning, fences, Bunnings, The Block, and believe it or not, an entire market (some would say economy) based on it. Even banks got into the business.

So let's get that law-writing app, and hit 'enact.'

I'm not suggesting that individuals - decent humans like you and me - should pay. There's personal use, and then there's trafficking. And by all means, let the bottling companies collect all the rainfall they want. Buy the land, set up lots of buckets.

But if they want the good stuff, by the billi-litre, from these huge handy deposits underground, well: that's different. When it comes to water, caged costs more than free range.

@RaybonKan
www.raybonkan.com

- NZ Herald

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Raybon Kan is an award-winning stand-up comedian

Raybon Kan's books of humour include ‘America on 5 Bullets a Day’ and ‘An Asian at my Table’. Before comedy, he graduated with honours in law and his legal research was published in the New Zealand Law Journal. His TV work includes a documentary in which he trained to be a casino croupier. He once held his breath for 3 minutes and 50 seconds. Visit RaybonKan.com

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