Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed an investment of $165,000 from Crown Irrigation Investments to scope irrigation scheme options in Northland.
“This is great news for a region that has suffered numerous droughts over the years,” says Mr Guy.
“Storing water means we can use it in dry spells, giving farmers and growers certainty and a real boost to the local economy.”
Northland Regional Council are also investing in the study which will focus on potential irrigation options in the mid North and Kaipara areas.
“Agriculture and horticulture play a major part in Northland’s economy. Last year the Ministry for Primary Industries contributed $75,000 towards a report examining the potential of irrigation in Northland and this is another important step forward.
“The report identified that with a reliable water supply, Northland has a natural advantage for high-value horticulture as the climate allows the growth of sub-tropical fruit.
“We know that any increase in horticulture generates a major increase in employment because of the high amount of labour per hectare required.”
The potential of irrigation and water storage is highlighted in the Tai Tokerau Northland Economic Action Plan which was launched in February this year.
“So far there has only been limited irrigation development in the region. As a Government we are strong supporters of irrigation and water storage because it can be a major boost to regional development, creating jobs and exports.
“A recent report by NZIER found that irrigation contributes $2.2 billion to the national economy and this has the potential to grow even further.
“Modern irrigation infrastructure also has the potential to improve the environmental, social and recreational outcomes from the use and management of our water, within a strong regulatory framework.”
Crown Irrigation Investments provides both development funding and construction capital to irrigation schemes across New Zealand.