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The Government is going to have to walk back another of its key policy planks after the Trade Minister’s plan for a tax on water exports was confirmed as illegal by his own officials, National Party Leader Bill English says.

“The Labour NZ First coalition agreement includes a pledge to introduce a tax on bottled water exports – proposed by Trade Minister David Parker.

“But today, Mr Parker’s trade officials confirmed that a tax on bottled water would not only breach the CPTPP trade agreement, but also New Zealand’s existing free trade agreements.

“While the idea has merit - and the previous Government took the responsible step of seeking recommendations on the matter - the new Government has committed to it without even seeking advice from its legal and trade experts on whether or not such a tax is possible.

“This next backtrack follows u-turns and broken promises on immigration, national standards, GST on online goods, Pike River, partnership schools and their promise to be more transparent – among others.

“This Government is developing a reputation for being secretive and disorganised – and for failing to follow through on its promises.

“New Zealanders deserve better,” Mr English says.

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