The debacle that is bottled water seems to be back in the spotlight.
The latest debate is over where it comes from. Can you claim your bottled water is from the picturesque southern alps of New Zealand if it's from West Auckland? Well no of course you can't - yet companies do.
The Beverage Council is onto this but here's the rub: We're falling for a marketing line that fresh alkaline water is superior and more beneficial to us than the regular stuff we get from the tap.
"Tap" water now has negative connotations attached to it. Even the word "tap" has become a dirty word. You look at cafes and restaurants these days. The waiter comes to your table and with a flourish asks if you would like "still or sparkling.. or.." and then in almost a look of disgust, mutter, "... tap?".
Their job of course is to sell you the water at 8 or 9 bucks a bottle and hope like hell you drink three bottles of the stuff, thus adding an unnecessary $27 to your bill. They couldn't give a crap what water you drink, they just want to sell it. So when you say "tap is fine thanks," they kind of grimace.
Tap has become uncool. Why? When I was growing up it was the only option. Yet these days our kids will often say at the gas station or the supermarket, "oh can I have a Pump?".
What's the point? We have water at home. But that's not the point, drinking it out of a sipper bottle is cooler somehow. "It's easier", they'll argue. How is it easier? Because you didn't have to turn the tap on yourself?
The problem with all this bottled water is it is of course a huge market. We send hundreds of millions of litres of it offshore every day.
So no wonder companies are cashing in with pretty pictures of southern alps to make it look like if you drink their water you're virtually drinking direct from an icy cold spring. They're leveraging off a pure and natural NZ story that simply isn't true.
But now that the international perception is out there, we have companies from all over the world setting up shop here to bottle our water and if a generic shot of icy peaks helps, then so be it.
The big trend is 'alkaline water' of course. Consumer NZ has looked at this as part of an investigation into enhanced water products.
It says there's no evidence that it delivers on the health claims promised.
In fact, it made the point that most people's water supply in NZ is perfectly fine - and you're better off spending your money on fruit and vegetables.