Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
The industry body believes the water projects that have been included in the $48 million loans from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will be a step towards boosting the economy following the impact of COVID-19.
“It is great to see the Government recognising the importance of water storage and the big role water plays in the social and economic wellbeing of our communities,” says IrrigationNZ chief executive Elizabeth Soal.
“Not only will the water projects be good for providing employment opportunities and supporting incomes during the construction phases of these projects, but also in the long term.”
Soal says having reliable access to water enhances communities’ resilience, climate change responsiveness, social outcomes, and unlocks the potential for land use flexibility.
“Investing in water projects is a sound investment for the long term economic and environmental sustainability of our country.”
Regional economic development minister Shane Jones made the PGF funding announcement this morning.
The water initiatives receiving loans totalling $48.4m are:
• Raukokore River Water Ltd, water storage project – $10.6m
• Wairarapa Water Limited, community water storage – $7m
• Te Waka Pupuri Pūtea Trust, Awanui water storage project (Far North) – $3m
• Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Tukituki water storage development phase - $2.5m
• Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Heretaunga Plains water storage development phase - $1.7m
Soal says all of the projects have scope to benefit both people and businesses from the urban and rural communities.