15 November 2012 – for immediate release
Last minute changes weaken Land and Water Forum report
IrrigationNZ says last minute changes to the Land and Water Forum’s Third Report, ‘Managing Within Limits’, have
weakened its integrity.
“IrrigationNZ has spent the past year collaborating in good faith to reach agreement on how water quantity and quality
is best managed in NZ. A package that provided a sound platform to support sustainable future growth in New Zealand had
been produced. However, last minute changes, particularly to the water allocation section, mean IrrigationNZ now
questions whether the Land & Water Forum is the collaborative consensus- based process it claims to be?” says IrrigationNZ CEO Andrew Curtis.
While Mr Curtis says there are many positives within the final report, including the need for; community-driven
catchment-based water management; industry ‘Good Management Practice’ as the preferred route; development of community
water infrastructure to address over-allocation; and a move to plan-led water management – IrrigationNZ has major
concerns about parts of the water allocation chapter.
“Certainty is the key if irrigators are to invest in sustainability. Irrigators need long-duration consents and an
explicit right of renewal,” says Curtis. “Short durations and uncertainty of renewal will produce reactive and high-
risk thinking which creates scenarios prohibitive to capital investment. If the community wants environmental gains
without job losses or food price increases, then New Zealand must implement a resource management system that allows for
long-term investment and thinking.”
There is also a need for community-driven water infrastructure solutions to be consented for over 50 years. This would
improve the viability of initial and on-going capital investment. In return for this, IrrigationNZ agrees consents need
to adapt in a timely manner to environmental limit changes. “This is the most logical package for water allocation,”
says Curtis. Having recently returned from an overseas study tour of irrigation developments in the UK, Israel and
Australia he says, “It is also consistent with water allocation internationally.”
“Irrigators have committed to more sustainable farming practices. Certainty, long-term thinking and catchment-based
water management are the only way water quality and quantity objectives set by the wider community will be achieved in
IrrigationNZ is the national body representing irrigators and the irrigation industry. Its mission is to promote
excellence in irrigation throughout New Zealand.