Govt expects money back from irrigation investment – Marie McNicholas:
A promise of $400 million for direct taxpayer-stakes in new regional irrigation schemes comes with a crucial caveat: the Government expects to get its money back.
It has decided to spend the first $80 million setting up a new Crown company to provide bridging finance for irrigation projects to encourage hesitant private investors to take the plunge.
It is the first tranche from the $400 million pool the National-led Government had already earmarked for taking equity stakes in new irrigation infrastructure. . .
“New Zealand is extraordinarily water rich, but we only capture and use about two per cent of annual water runoff, which is absolutely miniscule by international standards,” Water New Zealand Chief Executive, Murray Gibb said in welcoming the decision announced today by outgoing Primary Industries Minister, David Carter. He said Government would earmark $80 million to fund irrigation schemes in the 2013 Budget.
“Large scale off-farm harvesting, storage and distribution water infrastructure for irrigation comes with a hefty price tag. The funding announced today is likely to be a deal maker, bringing planned schemes to fruition. This has to be good news for the New Zealand economy Murray Gibb says. . .
DairyNZ has welcomed the Government’s decision to support regional-scale water infrastructure which will ultimately speed up the delivery of irrigation schemes.
The Government announced today that it will create a company to act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure. In addition, $80 million will be set aside in the 2013 budget for water infrastructure projects.
DairyNZ Chairman, John Luxton, says the decision bodes well for the future of dairy farming and its contribution to the economy.
“The dairy industry is committed to sustainable use of water and will be releasing a new Sustainable Dairying Water Accord as well as a wider sustainable farming strategy. But, for continued development of the industry, we need to have confidence that the necessary big regional investments will happen.” . . .
Fonterra Co-operative Group has welcomed today’s announcement by the Primary Industries Minister, David Carter confirming an $80m investment in this year’s Budget for irrigation and water storage infrastructure.
Managing Director Co-operative Affairs, Todd Muller, said the investment announcement, coupled with the establishment of a Crown vehicle to co-invest in water schemes, was an important step towards boosting agricultural productivity and exports.
“Water is fundamental to dairying and agricultural productivity. Enabling a mix of public and private funding will give investors the necessary confidence to push ahead with schemes at the regional level.
“We will see benefits flow through in increased production and export earnings and we will also see the environmental benefits which will come from improved water flows. . .
The first occupational agricultural death in 2013 has the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Federated Farmers asking farmers to put safety first in 2013 to bring down the farm toll.
“Five people died doing agricultural work last summer,” says Ona de Rooy, the Ministry’s General Manager Health and Safety Operations.
“As summer is a busy time on the farm it is vital to make safety a top priority.”
“Long hours of work in the heat and sun can lead to fatigue, impair judgement and increase the likelihood of an accident taking place,” Ms de Rooy says. . .
Comvita, which uses produces health products from manuka honey and olive leaves, has bought an 85 hectare organic olive estate with potential to expand its production of olive leaf extracts by 130 percent over the next five years.
The price paid for Organic Olives (Aust) by Comvita’s Australian subsidiary is undisclosed. The estate comprises some 7,000 certified organic olive trees, with room for further plantings, and is in Coominya, on the shores of Lake Wivenhoe in south-eastern Queensland . . .