09 November 2011
Irrigation investment an economic priority for National
New Zealand’s primary sector is an economic priority and National will put aside money from the Future Investment Fund for irrigation and water storage development, says Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key.
“Well-designed water storage and irrigation is a win for the economy and for the environment,” said Mr Key today at the release of National’s primary sector policy.
“Irrigation increases the productivity of our farm land, protects against droughts and takes the uncertainty out of water flows for farmers and recreational users.
“It also allows the more efficient use of water. Storage allows us to capture water at times of plenty, for efficient use at times of need.
“It is also important to our environment. More reliable access to water will lead to more efficient use of water, and provide for the replenishment of aquifers and the restoration of stream and river flows.
“National is committed to increasing New Zealand’s economic potential while balancing our environmental responsibilities,” says Mr Key.
“Should National win the election, we will provide up to $400 million from the Future Investment Fund to confirm the funding for the second phase of our water priorities, to be called the Crown Water Investment Company. Funding will be available from Budget 2013, and will carry on for the following four budgets.
“The scheme would operate through the Crown being a minority partner, and investing with the expectation of a commercial return on that investment. The intention would be that the stake would be sold off over time. It would not be a grant scheme.
“Because we are using the Future Investment Fund, which draws from proceeds of the mixed ownership model, we will not have borrow more at a time when financial restraint is needed.
“Government investment in large-scale irrigation schemes can deliver high quality projects, sooner, and give confidence to capital markets to invest.
“Our plan will be good for jobs, good for growth, and good for the economy.”
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