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Irrigation Investment Announcement Welcomed

Media Release
23 January 2013

Irrigation Investment Announcement Welcomed

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chief Executive Andrew Newman has welcomed today’s announcement that the Government is to earmark $80 million for irrigation investment in the next 12 months.

The Government is establishing a company to act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure development. In 2011 it signalled plans to invest up to $400 million in regional-scale schemes to encourage third-party capital investment. Cabinet has now directed that $80 million be set aside in this year’s Budget for the initial stages of the company’s operation.

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, through its investment company, Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company Ltd (HBRIC Ltd) is currently in the consenting phase of a large water storage project in Central Hawke’s Bay, which has the potential to open up a further 25,000 hectares of land for farming while improving the water quality and flows in the Tukituki River. HBRIC Ltd is also working with BNZ Advisory on securing investors for the project and undertaking further activity to promote the stored water to potential irrigators.

The feasibility phase of the project, which was completed last year, received more than $2 million dollars in funding from the Ministry of Primary Industries’ Irrigation Acceleration Fund. The feasibility project assessed the water quality and flows of the Tukituki River. It also looked at the potential land uses in the area and whether the project could operate within the regulatory limits for phosphorous and nitrogen.

Andrew Newman says HBRC has had an extremely good relationship with the Government on the project through the Ministry of Primary Industries.

He says the establishment of the new Government company and earmarking of funding is welcome news.

“A large project like this needs a number of investors and this decision demonstrates the economic value the Government places on water storage projects such as the Ruataniwha scheme,” says Mr Newman.

A final decision on whether or not the scheme is built is anticipated in early 2014.


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