Hawke's Bay Regional Council says a $14,000 fine for an orchard that allowed an illegal agrichemical spray drift sends a strong signal to the horticulture sector that poor practice will not be tolerated.
The Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC) has confirmed its intention to invest in the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.
HBRC has approved its $80 million investment with a 7-2 vote, agreeing that all four of the conditions required for investment had been met.
The investment follows more than 190 Signed Water User Agreements in support of the scheme.
Federated Farmers Hawke's Bay provincial president Will Foley says the Ruataniwha Plains are highly vulnerable to drought and this dam will ensure a reliable water source to preserve the family farming traditions in the region.
"The dam will protect farmers' productivity, particularly through the summer and autumn periods when it's drier," says Foley.
"Today's decision is a positive step towards the region receiving true tangible benefits while maintaining the community's environmental values.
"There will be more interest especially from arable growers who will benefit greatly from a reliable water source."
Farmers in the region have signed a 35-year contract for the scheme and will make adjustments from traditional dry-land farming to irrigation farming.
"It's been a long time in the making but there's a real sense of excitement around how positive this is for the region," says Foley.
"The local economy will thrive with the returns from more high-value primary industry products being exported around the world."