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Mr Key, Water storage is infrastructure too

5 November 2008

Mr Key, don't forget water storage is infrastructure too

Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson today urged National Party Leader John Key not to forget that water storage is a critical part of New Zealand's infrastructure and should be "on the infrastructure list" of any new minister.

This follows reported comments in today's Dominion Post by Mr Key that if his party wins the treasury benches he would immediately appoint a Minister of Infrastructure. There have also been recent comments by several politicians that given the current international financial crisis, the Government should spend more money on infrastructure as a way to stimulate the economy.

"It's not complex - dams store water, water grows grass and grass produces food which we can sell to the world to pay the nations bills," Mr Nicolson said.

"If we want to transform the economy we should focus on harnessing our enormous water resources so we get water in the right place at the right time.

"Water storage is critical to New Zealand's future. Building more dams as part of a strategy for water storage will set the country up for decades to come.

"It is well known that farming is the backbone of the economy. Current run of river water allocation systems see farmers too vulnerable to drought and floods. In the past year we have had both. If we are going to survive this economic crisis New Zealand needs to produce more primary sector exports to pay the bills.

"Not only will new dams help increase exports, we know from the Opuha dam experience in South Canterbury that the towns, cities, boaties, fishermen and environment also benefit. The upside is huge.

"Any new Minister of Infrastructure must focus on water storage as a priority, not just roads, schools and houses, none of which actually earn more export dollars," Mr Nicolson concluded.

ENDS

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