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Irrigation New Zealand Welcomes 4th LAWF Report

Irrigation New Zealand Welcomes 4th LAWF Report

Irrigation New Zealand welcomes the fourth Land and Water Forum (LAWF) Report.

“The diverse group of forum members have spent a lot of time collaborating to reach the additional recommendations,” said Andrew Curtis, CEO of Irrigation New Zealand. “This has resulted in constructive advice to Ministers for the development of freshwater policy. It’s now time for the government to act.”

“Freshwater is a natural and recurring resource we need to protect, and is a national asset which needs to be properly and carefully managed to bolster our agricultural-led economy.

“This is recognised in the LAWF Report. There are recommendations for the government to fund and facilitate the development of environmental infrastructure like water storage and wetlands. Storage means freshwater can be captured for environmental benefits such as managed aquifer recharge and augmenting rivers in dry seasons. This captured water can also relieve problems of over-allocation and provide efficient water for new users.

“In the Report, regional and local government are advised to investigate, co-fund and help develop this infrastructure on a catchment scale,” said Mr Curtis.

INZ also supports the Report’s recommendations for greater flexibility regarding transferability of water take consents.

“Transfer is already happening, particularly within irrigation user groups where they work together to share the available resource, but a better resourced and more transparent system would lead to greater fluidity in exchanges. This would result in efficiency in water distribution to where it is most needed, it would also allow for allocation to new users,” said Mr Curtis.

In line with the Report’s calls for optimal use of land, water and nutrients – INZ continues to roll out its SMART irrigation training to help farmers improve their water efficiency on-farm.

INZ welcomes calls by the Report for a national information sharing platform for all freshwater and has already consolidated existing information on the irrigation industry in its industry snapshot released last week http://irrigationnz.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/INZ-IrrigationIndustrySnapshot-4Nov15.pdf .

“Regarding Iwi rights and interests in water, it is essential that whatever is decided is done quickly but in doing so that we don’t solve one grievance by creating another, that way NZ can progress to optimal water management with the necessary community mandates, legislation, systems and implementation methods to make the most of the water we have,” said Mr Curtis.


ends

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