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Irrigation joins a fresh start for water

14 September 2011

Irrigation joins a fresh start for water

The Irrigation Acceleration Fund will help transform and future proof New Zealand agriculture on the same day another fund, the ‘Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund’, will help communities remedy the legacy of the past.

“As an environmental award winning farmer who uses intensive irrigation, can I praise the government for straight forward guidelines that are clear as to what’s required with no stupidity either,” says Ian Mackenzie, Federated Farmers RMA and environment spokesperson.

“There’s no coincidence that it is announced concurrently with the ‘Fresh Start for Fresh Water Clean Up Fund’. This is about the future every bit as much as the past.

“The $35 million Irrigation Acceleration Fund is a positive step forward to developing water as a resource. That’s because 95 percent of the water used in agriculture does not come from storage and when I use the term agriculture, I include horticulture and the wine industry too.

“Federated Farmers has enthusiastically pushed for a ‘new water’ policy because this is about storing what falls from the sky. Economic studies done on the Opuha Dam during the last Labour Government showed an 8:1 economic payback.

“The $35 million Irrigation Acceleration Fund could well unlock billions of dollars in benefits.

“What’s more, native fish and water fowl can’t prosper in dry river beds. Water also provides recreational and community gains. We genuinely congratulate the Government for getting off the side-line to assist schemes when they need it the most.

“The guidelines for applicants will be a template. Aspiring irrigators can check off all the necessary steps and hurdles needed to achieve success, not only in applying for money from the fund, but in developing new irrigation schemes.

“Large schemes may save millions of dollars from having this sort of advice let alone time

“Given the hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth generated for New Zealand by agriculture since the 19th century, just a little is being put back into remedying the past. From the roads we drive on to schools, hospitals and public buildings, we have all benefited from this past income.

“This is not about finger pointing but ensuring the past doesn’t trip us up from farming forward. As with Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere, it’s about community and the community includes farmers.

“The Government has got the balance right on,” Mr. Mackenzie concluded.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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