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IrrigationNZ election manifesto calls for water security so Kiwis get fresh food at reasonable prices

Tuesday 20 June 2023, 7:03AM

By IrrigationNZ

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IrrigationNZ today released its election manifesto which calls for policies that secure water for growing food. “Keeping food affordable in New Zealand means farmers and growers need access to reliable water at the right time in the growing cycle,” says IrrigationNZ chief executive IrrigationNZ.

“About 90% of New Zealand’s fruit and vegetables rely on irrigation, as does 26% of our milk-based products, and around 10% of our meat. To grow this food we irrigate about 5.4% of farmland and use less than 5% of annual freshwater.

“Reliable water for growing food is accessed by capturing abundant rainwater and snowmelt, storing it, and making it available when it is needed. 

“But this is being hindered by restrictive policy, legislative barriers, and a lack of intent by the current Government, which in turn stalls investment in much needed water storage infrastructure. 

“As a result, food production is increasingly at risk, particularly in regions which have volatile or very dry weather. 

“We need a Minister for Water and a cross-agency strategy to ensure New Zealand has appropriate water storage to provide security for food production,” says Ms Winning. 

“There is a misconception that irrigation equates to animal agriculture and results in dirty rivers - which is overly simplistic and incorrect,” says IrrigationNZ chair Keri Johnston. “This narrative is preventing New Zealand from taking a future-focused view on how water storage can support our communities, environment and economy. 

“New Zealand has the opportunity to be a world leader in water management - for well-being, the environment, resilience, self-sufficiency, to support trade, and for climate change mitigation and adaptation techniques. Let's move forward with a plan,” concludes Ms Johnston.

IrrigationNZ is requesting the following from an incoming Government:

• Support water capture, storage, and use

• Put in place a Minister for Water

• Develop a strategy for water capture, storage, and use that puts climate change adaptation and mitigation at the centre

• Provide certainty regarding water capture and storage

• Establish enabling policy

• Promote innovation

• Support investment

• Demonstrate flexibility

• Share information and support education

Find the manifesto here.