This is very good news from Ministry for Primary Industries Nathan Guy.
“The company will act as a bridging investor for regional water infrastructure projects, helping kick-start projects that would not otherwise get off the ground. The Government has set aside $80 million in Budget 2013 for this purpose,” says Mr Guy.
All members of the establishment board have been appointed to the new Board of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited.
The Board will be chaired by Alison Paterson, with members Don Huse (Deputy Chair), Debbie Birch, Lindsay Crossen, Chris Kelly, Graeme Sutton, and Michael Webb.
“Crown Irrigation will invest where it is considered necessary to get a project underway. It will be a minority and targeted investor.
“This is another important step towards unlocking the massive opportunities that water storage and irrigation can create for New Zealand.
“There is potential for another 420,000 hectares of irrigated land to be available for a variety of uses over time. Research from NZIER suggests exports could be boosted by $4 billion a year by 2026, which would support thousands of new jobs.
“More consistent river flows in summer will also have real benefits for the environment, with improved habitats for fish and birdlife.
“After the extreme drought that most of the country suffered earlier this year, the need for better water storage is obvious,” says Mr Guy.
CII’s role is not to enable uneconomic schemes to go ahead.
It will provide bridging finance in the early stages of a scheme’s development to enable it to get off the ground.
The money will be repaid as initial shareholders increase their investment or new ones join the scheme.