Irrigation New Zealand

« Back to media releases


17th August 2017

IrrigationNZ is continuing to challenge the logic of Labour’s water tax proposal, after finding that regions with more swimmable rivers will receive more funding from the water tax, while those with the least swimmable rivers will receive less funding to clean up rivers.

“We pointed out to Labour in our meeting with them this week that region’s with more irrigated land actually have more swimmable rivers, while areas with lower proportions of irrigated land have more rivers graded poor for swimming,” says IrrigationNZ Chief Executive. “The data doesn’t support the idea that irrigation is a main cause of river pollution.”

“Labour told us at that meeting that the 2 cents they want to charge per 1,000 litres of water on  irrigators will be spent within that region. When we ran the numbers on what regions would receive in funding it produces some really ridiculous outcomes where regions with really poor river quality end up with hardly any money, while other regions have more than they could spend.”

“So for example, Marlborough has quite a lot of irrigated land and would receive $2.4 million from the tax. But 90% of its rivers are already classed as good or excellent for swimming by the Ministry for the Environment with only 1% graded as poor. So would there be enough projects to actually spend that money?”

“By contrast, Northland has very little irrigated land and would receive only $700,000 from the tax. 48% of its rivers are graded poor for swimming with only 4% rated good or excellent, so it really needs a considerable amount of money to make a difference to the 1,800km of rivers in the region and they won’t get it from this tax.”

Equally Auckland has the poorest quality rivers in the country, with 62% of rivers rated as poor for swimming, but Labour says they don’t plan to use the money from the water tax to clean up urban waterways. The region would only receive $480,000 from the tax.

“By far most of the tax would go to Canterbury which would receive $41 million. One of the main benefits of the Central Plains water scheme is that by switching many irrigators from groundwater to alpine water this will allow groundwater fed lowland streams to recharge, so we are already anticipating improvements to a number of Canterbury rivers without a tax being introduced,” he says.

“These figures highlight the fact that Labour has made an assumption that irrigation is the cause of river pollution and if they collect and spend an irrigation tax within the same region it will result in money going where its needed.  An assumption which is incorrect because the regions with the least swimmable rivers are in areas with low levels of irrigation. So when we apply their tax model it results in the money gathered from irrigators not being directed to the areas that really need it.”

“My final question to the public is – if areas with poorer quality rivers are going to get less funding, can you be sure that Labour’s water tax will actually result in cleaner rivers?”

What each region would pay and receive from the Clean Rivers irrigation tax*

Region

 

Funding taken and spent for ‘Clean Rivers’ in region
Percentage of rivers poor for swimming (MFE)  Percentage of irrigated land

 

Canterbury  $41 million   4  11
Otago $7.8 million  8  3
Marlborough $2.4 million  1  3
 Wellington $1.4 million  6  2
 Hawkes Bay  $2.2 million  1  2
 Auckland  $500,000  62  1
 Nelson Tasman  $1 million  1  1
 Manawatu Wanganui  $1.8 million  15  1
 Bay of Plenty  $1 million  2  1
 Taranaki  $600,000  16  1
 Waikato  $1.8 million  44  1
 Northland  $700,000  48  0.7
 Gisborne  $400,000  0  0.6
 Southland  $1.4 million  29  0.6
 West Coast  $200,000  0  0.1

*If taxed at 2 cents per 1,000 litres of water. 

Swimmable rivers data is sourced from the Ministry for the Environment.

 


« Back to media releases

 

NEWS

How farms are working to reduce environmental impacts in Selwyn 

14th February 2018

It’s been a busy time for many Selwyn farms over the past few months. After a record breaking dry spell in late 2017, we received some welcome rain in January.  In conditions like these, irrigation is really important both for….. Read more

NZ needs more water storage in a changing climate

8th February 2018

The importance of water storage in helping provide a reliable supply of water for urban communities, and for food and energy production in a changing climate needs to be recognised, says IrrigationNZ. “We are seeing the effects of poor future….. Read more

What can we learn from 2017’s wild weather about managing water?

8th February 2018

  As year’s went 2017 was a fairly dramatic one. In February, one of the biggest fires in New Zealand history ignited on the Port Hills amid tinder dry conditions, causing thousands of residents to be evacuated. In March, the….. Read more

Free irrigation workshop for Bay of Plenty farmers

18th January 2018

Bay of Plenty dairy farmers have the opportunity to join a free workshop showing them how to optimise their irrigation use. The workshop will be run by IrrigationNZ and will cover how to assess how well irrigation systems are performing…… Read more

Irrigation Workshops – Marlborough and Tasman

7th December 2017

With challenging dry conditions continuing across the Upper South Island, Marlborough and Tasman irrigators will have the opportunity to find out how to be more efficient in their water use at upcoming workshops hosted by IrrigationNZ. “Understanding how to monitor….. Read more

EVENTS

Irrigation Efficiency Summer Programme

November 7, 2017 - February 28, 2018

                                 Is your irrigation equipment operating as it should? What improvements could be made? These are questions that can be technically challenging and costly. To help irrigating farmers navigate to Good Management….. Read more

Foundations of working with tangata whenua workshop

March 6 - March 7

Given the considerable interest shown, INZ have organised a workshop on how to be effective working and negotiating with tangata whenua. Proudly supported by our training partners The learning objectives of this are to: Have a basic idea of who….. Read more

Irrigation Accreditation

Smart Irrigation