Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Petition misrepresents irrigation facts

Tuesday 14 November 2017

Petition misrepresents irrigation facts


IrrigationNZ says that the petition presented by Greenpeace at Parliament today misrepresents how irrigation has been funded and used and ignores the wide range of benefits to New Zealand from irrigation, as well as the efforts being made to address environmental issues.

“Greenpeace has presented a petition seeking to stop government funding of irrigation schemes. The petition is misleading as the majority of money provided to irrigation schemes by Crown Irrigation Investments has been in the form of loans which have to be paid back with interest,” says Andrew Curtis IrrigationNZ Chief Executive.

“The loan funding supports new irrigation schemes but also supports work to modernise existing irrigation schemes so they can use water more efficiently, something many people would support if they knew about it.”

Mr Curtis says the petition’s focus on irrigation being used by dairy farms does not fairly represent how irrigation is used in New Zealand. Over half of New Zealand’s irrigated land is not used for dairy farming but to grow crops, for sheep and pasture grazing, and for fruit, vegetable and wine production. Most dairy farms in New Zealand do not use irrigation.

“Modern irrigation schemes can also have a range of environmental benefits,” says Mr Curtis.

Trials by the Foundation for Arable Research have found that arable farms with irrigation leached less nitrogen than the equivalent dryland farms. On irrigated farms nutrients can be targeted to provide reliable plant growth which is not limited by soil moisture. Enhanced plant growth allows more nutrients to be used by plants, reducing the risk of leaching. Irrigation also promotes consistent ground cover (either crops or pasture) through the summer growing season, which reduces the risk of wind erosion of soil and surface sediment runoff. Sediment is a significant contaminant in waterways.

Irrigation schemes can be designed to protect river health – for example water from the Opuha Dam is used to supplement river flows to keep the river flowing during drought years and is released to mimic ‘natural freshes’ that flush-out algal growth in the Opuha River.

“The recent report on domestic vegetable production by HortNZ highlights that New Zealand needs to focus on ensuring there is a secure food supply for the future. Irrigation helps us feed our growing population, keeps food more affordable and allows a wider variety of local food to be grown throughout the year,” Mr Curtis adds.

“Irrigation will become even more important in the future to help reduce food shortages or price spikes due to droughts occurring more often as a result of climate change.”

Many irrigation schemes supply multi-purpose infrastructure with Oamaru, Timaru and Kerikeri all sourcing their town drinking water supply from irrigation infrastructure.

“Irrigation is vitally important to New Zealand’s economy and it contributed an estimated $5.4 billion to NZ’s GDP in 2016-17. For every 1,000 hectares of irrigation added, several New Zealand studies have found at least 50 new jobs are created. For high value horticulture, this increases to over 500 new jobs,” Mr Curtis says.

“New Zealand is a world leader in efficient, safe food production and irrigation plays an important role in this as well as in creating prosperous communities. Farmers and growers are now taking a wide range of actions on farms like fencing off waterways, riparian planting and developing farm environment plans which are already resulting in improvements to rivers and will see further benefits in the future,” says Mr Curtis.

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

ScoopPro: Helping The Education Sector Get More Out Of Scoop

The ScoopPro professional license includes a suite of useful information tools for professional users of Scoop including some specifically for those in the education sector to make your Scoop experience better. More>>

Big Tax Bill Due: Destiny Church Charities Deregistered

The independent Charities Registration Board has decided to remove Destiny International Trust and Te Hahi o Nga Matamua Holdings Limited from the Charities Register on 20 December 2017 because of the charities’ persistent failure to meet their annual return obligations. More>>

57 Million Users' Data: Uber Breach "Utterly Preventatable"

Cybersecurity leader Centrify says the Uber data breach of 57 million customer and driver records - which the ride-hailing company hid for more than a year - was “utterly preventable”. More>>

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>

Having A Cow? Dairy Product Prices Slide For Fourth Straight Auction

Dairy product prices fell at the Global Dairy Trade auction, retreating for the fourth straight auction amid signs of increased production... Whole milk powder fell 2.7 percent to US$2,778 a tonne. More>>

ALSO:

Statistics: Butter At Record $5.67/Block; High Vegetable Prices

Rising dairy prices have pushed food prices up 2.7 percent in the year to October 2017, Stats NZ said today. This followed a 3.0 percent increase in the year to September 2017. More>>

ALSO:

Science: New Research Finds Herbicides Cause Antibiotic Resistance

New University of Canterbury research confirms that the active ingredients of the commonly used herbicides, RoundUp, Kamba and 2,4-D (glyphosate, dicamba and 2,4-D, respectively), each alone cause antibiotic resistance at concentrations well below label application rates. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Bill Bennett on Tech