Irrigation New Zealand

Media Statement – for immediate release

May 14 2020

IrrigationNZ believes that strategic water storage in key regions could aid a post-Covid recovery which focuses on protecting jobs, creating new ones, achieving positive environmental outcomes, and contributing to climate change targets.

“But Budget 2020 has missed the opportunity for water storage to be part of the solution,” says IrrigationNZ chief executive Elizabeth Soal.

“IrrigationNZ understands the exceptional circumstances of COVID-19, but believes that strategic management of this essential resource remains important, and that a water strategy to guide spending would be beneficial,’’ Ms Soal says.

“We will continue to talk to the Government about how this can be done utilising the $20 billion unallocated funding, and the $3.2 billion infrastructure contingency fund,”

“As we rise out of the wreckage of COVID-19 we must urgently look to stimuli for our economy. Correctly captured, efficiently distributed and effectively used water is one of those."

“The Hawkes Bay drought is an example of why it is so important that we have water storage – to prevent damage to communities and regions caused by drought, which will increase due to climate change,” says Ms Soal.

IrrigationNZ is supportive of the money set aside in Budget 2020 to create new jobs in regional environmental projects including improving the health of New Zealand's waterways, enhancing biodiversity and restoring wetlands.

“This is a great opportunity to create employment and better look after our natural waterways, native bush, and landscapes,” says Ms Soal.

Budget 2020 offers $500m for the primary sector, going largely to mycoplasma bovis recovery and the Emissions Trading Scheme. IrrigationNZ applauds wellbeing support going to farmers and aiding people into primary sector jobs.

Further comment:

Ella Stokes, IrrigationNZ Communications Manager

027 521 6271