Horticulture New Zealand welcomes the Government’s planned increase in grant funding and capital investment towards irrigation and water infrastructure in Budget 2017.
Of the new funding, $26.7 million provides matched grant funding to regional scale irrigation schemes, while $63 million of new capital funding will support investment in the construction of regional irrigation infrastructure.
Horticulture New Zealand Chief Executive Mike Chapman says that this is a good move towards protecting New Zealand’s water, and an important step on the road towards lasting food security.
"Protecting water, as the Government is doing here, is vital to New Zealand’s economic and social well-being," says Chapman, "but so too is protecting high-quality growing land from urban sprawl."
"In addition to this welcome funding for water, Horticulture New Zealand is advocating for a Food Security Policy to be developed by Government, protecting the high-quality land used for growing our fresh fruit and vegetables. The rapid expansion of our cities is putting pressure on our top growing areas, particularly in areas like Pukekohe.
"A true food security policy will do much more than just protect water and land - it will ensure New Zealand can feed itself, keep rural New Zealand thriving, and make New Zealand financially and economically sustainable."