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Water Marks New Zealand as the Real ‘Lucky Country’

Water Marks New Zealand as the Real ‘Lucky Country’

Federated Farmers is hailing the significant announcement today on both water storage and on policy as moves that will cement New Zealand as the real ‘lucky country’.

“This Government is serious about playing to New Zealand’s natural competitive advantage and that’s agriculture,” says Lachlan McKenzie, Federated Farmers co-spokesperson on water.

“While Australia digs themselves up, we’re hard at work to convert our rainfall into renewable and sustainable food and fibre exports. Water is behind everything we export and these exports directly pay for policing, doctors, nurses and teachers.

“The $35 million investment in the Irrigation Acceleration Fund over five years shows how a modest investment in agriculture will yield long term results.

“The Opuha Study showed that for every dollar invested in water storage, eight dollars was generated through the economy. If you take that and add it to today’s announcement and future plans, you are talking about a multi-billion dollar uplift.

“The $35 million for the Irrigation Acceleration Fund is easily as significant for New Zealand’s economic development as the Government’s $40 million underwrite of the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund last August. Except every dollar invested in agriculture goes a long, long way.

“It’s also a major vindication for Federated Farmers pushing water storage well before the Prime Minister’s 2009 jobs summit. What we are talking about is a boost for jobs and a boost for the regional and national economy.

“The 2007/08 El Nino influenced drought cost the economy $2.8 billion and is now seen as the probable cause of the last recession. Water storage provides a way to smooth out periods of low rainfall because what we are talking about, is storing from what naturally falls from the sky.

“But we are excited to see the Government openly talking about a potential $400 million worth of equity for the construction of regional-scale schemes that will encourage third-party capital investment.

“This is the first time in years we have seen Government grasp the enormous opportunity to future proof not just our agricultural industries but our towns and cities as well.

“It’s significant because Government is willing to get off the side-lines given it’s an ideal form of a private-public partnership,” Mr McKenzie concluded.

ENDS

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