Thursday, 25 January 2024 10:55

New water policy direction

Written by  Vanessa Winning
To manage water well, the right infrastructure is needed. To manage water well, the right infrastructure is needed.

IrrigationNZ submitted a briefing last month to the new Government this week on how water capture, storage, and efficient use can grow economic prosperity, support New Zealand's exports, and ensure long term regional resilience. Here's part of what Vanessa Winning, chief executive of IrrigationNZ, said:

We congratulate the new Government Ministers and the spirit of working together we are seeing. We look forward to working with relevant Ministers to ensure irrigation and water storage is foundational to New Zealand's primary sector and supports its sustainable growth.

The policy direction in the coalition agreements regarding water storage and irrigation is encouraging/

The strength of the Ministers involved in agriculture and trade is also very promising, with many having direct involvement in farming and growing, as well as in water for productive use. It is refreshing to hear Hon Todd McClay... talk about the importance of agriculture and water too.

It is also good to see that the regions will be championed by a Minister for Regional Devlopment. Water is one of New Zealand's most bountiful and precious resources, and if managed well, leads to significant positive economic, community and environmental outcomes that support the regions.

We continue to champion for a Minister responsible for water, and this could be within the remit of the Minister for Resources, also the Regional Development Minister, who has championed irrigation projects in the past.

To manage water well, we need the right infrastructure to capture water in wet seasons and store and share it appropriately when it is needed in dry seasons.

The establishment of a new National Infrastructure Agency and Regional Infrastructure Fund will be beneficial as the country looks to prioritise and fast track water storage projects of national significance for climate adaptability and regional resilience.

vanessa winning FBTW

IrrigationNZ chief executive Vanessa Winning.

As part of our briefing submitted to the new Government, we have highlighted the need for a water strategy and have set out four regional water storage projects to be considered for urgent fast track consenting approval along with further water storage projects that would supplement minimum flows and support water bodies when they need it.

We look forward to working with the Government to lift New Zealand's productivity and economic growth to increase opportunities and prosperity for all New Zealanders.

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