Irrigation long-term investment

Ngai Tahu has withdrawn as a potential investor in the $275 million Ruataniwha water storage scheme in Hawke’s Bay.

Ngai Tahu said it had a series of criteria that needed to be met for continued investment, including the right investment partner with the appropriate experience.

Electricity firm TrustPower, which has a lot of experience with dam storage and irrigation, withdrew from the investment in March. It said the project did not stack up with the level of returns the company required from new investments. . . .

Irrigation is a long-term investment.

It requires a lot of money up-front,. It’s years before it returns any dividends and many of those are indirect through the environmental, financial and social benefits that come from it.

Ngai Tahu’s decision will be a blow to the scheme’s proponents but it doesn’t have to be a killing one.

Finding more, smaller investors will require more work, but with the backing of farmers, the regional council and the government through the Crown Irrigation Fund, and others who understand the value it will bring to the province it could still go ahead.


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