Water

Taxing farmers ‘into oblivion’ will only set the environment back, says Stephen Joyce

[13 August/Stuff News] Discussing Labour’s proposal to introduce a new water tax, Finance Minister Stephen Joyce said on TVNZ’s Q&A programme that he could see water quality going backwards under Labour’s plans as farmers would be too broke to invest in the environment. Labour’s royalty fee on water bottlers and farmers using irrigation water will...

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern wants royalty on commercial freshwater use to help clean up rivers

[9 August/ NZ Herald] Jacinda Ardern is promising farmers that a Labour Party proposal to charge for freshwater will be fair and allow them to keep making a profit. Ms Ardern said Labour would charge an unspecified royalty for commercial water and use the money to clean up rivers, lakes and streams. Ms Ardern added...

Farmer hits out at both National and Labour water policies as bad for farming

[10 August/ Stuff] Canterbury Farmer John Ridgen said National’s water policy is as much of a threat to his business as Labour’s and would be lost without use of water from the Central Plains Water (CPW) scheme. Mr Ridgen said if water charges or other constraints became too onerous, he would have to convert to...

We’ll be back’: Greenpeace protest sets Central Plains irrigation scheme back a day

[2 August/ NZ Herald] Greenpeace activists spent a day chained to machinery and locked inside pipes at the Central Plains Water Irrigation scheme construction site near Hororata. The activists’ protests are based on their beliefs that the irrigation scheme will cause more cows and greater pollution of rivers and drinking water. Central Plains Water Scheme...

Jon Morgan: All is not lost for Ruataniwha Dam

[17 July/ Opinion Piece- Stuff] NZ Farmer Editor Jon Morgan believes it is encouraging that the Government thinks the law around land swaps, such as the swap of DOC Ruahine Forest Park land for farmland to pave the way for the Ruataniwha Dam, should be clarified. Mr Morgan said the dam’s future is in the...

Government may change law after court rules against DOC land-swap

[6 July/ Stuff] The Government is prepared to change the law to overturn a Supreme Court ruling that conservation land cannot be taken by developers. In a 3-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled the Director-General of Conservation was not entitled to revoke the special conservation status of a section of Ruahine Forest Park reserved for...

Labour confirms it will charge farmers for irrigation water

[26 June/ Stuff: NZ Farmer] At last week’s Federated Farmers conference, Andrew Little was applauded from his apparent change in stance around Labour’s policy to charge farmers a resource rental on water used for irrigation.  Mr Little was congratulated on abandoning the idea and Mr Little appear to confirm this was the case, stating that...

More irrigation work approved

[26 June/ NZ Farmers Weekly] Environment Minister, Nick Smith, has granted the Hunter Downs Water scheme requiring authority status to develop and operate the proposed $195 million water project in South Canterbury.  This approval effectively gives the scheme the green light to progress, as it can now apply to the Timaru and Waimate District Councils...

Auditor set to examine NZ’s water supply systems

[11 June/ Radio NZ] Water is the Office of the Auditor General’s 2017/18 work theme, and the office will examine irrigation, resource consent management and drinking water supplies, particularly looking at how effectively the resource is being managed by local and central government. The Office of the Auditor General will table this plan in Parliament...

New coalition forms to tackle freshwater quality

[8 June/ Radio NZ] Successive governments’ inaction on degraded waterways has caused a cross-sector group including Forest and Bird, Fish and Game, Choose Clean Water, Greenpeace, Tourism Export Council and the Federated Mountain Clubs, to come together to create a new freshwater plan. The Freshwater Rescue Plan details seven steps for future governments to follow...

New swimmable standard ‘less stringent’ – NIWA

[11 May/ Radio NZ Rural] According to a report conducted by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), the new Clean Water Package released by the Government in February has a less stringent minimum acceptable standard for swimmable waters than the 2014 National Policy Statement it would replace. The Government has denied this,...

Massive grant for North Otago irrigation extension and upgrade

 [9 May/ Stuff] Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Company has received $388,000 from Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd to reach the construction stage of its irrigation infrastructure update. Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd provides funding to irrigation schemes throughout New Zealand, and its funding to Kurow Duntroon Irrigation Company will enable the construction of a new piped scheme to...

Further expressions of interest encouraged for Hunter Downs irrigation scheme

[4 May/ Stuff] Hunter Downs Water (HDW) has encouraged farmers to register their interest in the proposed Hunter Downs irrigation scheme by May 15. Project Manager Stacey Scott said the $195 million scheme would not proceed unless enough shares were sold by the deadline. Greenpeace Senior Campaign Advisor Steve Abel said this was the second...

Report into Havelock North water crisis delayed

[28 March/ Radio NZ] The deadline for the Havelock North’s water contamination crisis full report has been delayed nine months. The report was initiated after over 5000 people in Havelock North became sick with gastrointestinal illness after drinking contaminated water in August. An independent inquiry was asked to investigate how the water became contaminated, how...

Govt opens door to a price on freshwater

[20 March/ Otago Daily Times] Ministers are writing to a technical advisory group to investigate a water allocation price in relation to the relatively small bottled water industry, and particularly whether companies should be charged to export bottled freshwater. Prime Minister Bill English said any charge would mark a fundamental shift in policy, with the...

Crown argues it has power to revoke status of conservation land in Ruataniwha appeal

[27 February/ National Business Review] The Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society has challenged the Court of Appeal’s Department of Conservation land swap decision. The challenge was enlivened after director-general of conservation, Lou Sanson, successfully revoked the conservation status of a 22 hectare piece of Ruahine Forest Park land within the boundaries of a proposed...

Farmer group optimistic after “fruitful” council meeting

[27 February/ Stuff] After hearing concerns from farmer groups such as Farmers for Positive Change, the Primary Land Users Group and King Country River Care, the Waikato Regional Council will soon decide whether to withdraw the Healthy Rivers plan change. Central to the farmer groups’ argument is the use of a nitrogen reference point to...

River plan remains unchanged

[Water /Rural News] Waikato Regional Council says that the submission process over the Waikato River clean-up plan has not been affected by a judicial review lodged with the High Court.  The application for review was lodged by Horticulture New Zealand and five other organisations seeking a judicial review of the decision by the regional council...

‘Industrial dairying’ criticism of Hurunui irrigation project untrue, say backers

 [Water /Business Day: NZ Farmer] Alex Adams, the Hurunui Water Project CEO, says that Greenpeace is wrong to claim the proposed scheme on the Hurunui River will lead to large scale intensive dairying and a degraded river.  Mr Adams said that the scheme is very different to original proposal, with dairy development now being a...

What a difference a year has made to the Opuha Dam

[Water/ Business Day: NZ Farmer] Opuha Water CEO, Tony McCormick, has noted that the dam has started 2017 full to the brim having been at low levels at the same time in each of the last two years (41% in at the start of 2015 and 66% at the start of 66%).  He noted irrigation...

Iwi appeasement upsets others

 [12 December/ Farmers Weekly] A legal battle over the future direction of the Healthy Rivers plan in the Waikato region may arise out of the Regional Council’s decision to pull part of the catchment from the plan until iwi issues were dealt with. Hauraki iwi were threatening legal action against the council for a lack...

Key supporter of Ruataniwha Dam resigns

 [25 November/ Radio NZ] Hawke’s Bay Regional Investment Company Chairman, Andy Pearce has resigned from the Council’s investment company. Mr Pearce chaired the company since it was formed in 2012 and did not give any reason for his resignation. Mr Pearce was a driving force behind the $900 million Ruataniwha Dam in Hawke’s Bay which...

Irrigation investment will strengthen hard hit province

 [25 November/ Rural News] Federated Farmers North Canterbury President, Lynda Murchison said the investment of $3.4 million into the Hurunui Water Project by Crown Irrigation Investments would ensure the future resilience of North Canterbury. Ms Murchison added that the scheme had tight environmental controls and farmers only needed to water to reduce their vulnerability to...

Irrigation ‘a dam’ good thing

 [21 November/ Rural News] Irrigation New Zealand Chair and South Canterbury Farmer, Nicky Hyslop, recently hosted a field trip on her family farm northwest of Timaru as part of the Grassland Association Conference. The farm has 208 irrigated hectares which are used to rear lambs and cattle, grow spring feed and specialist seed crops. Ms...