Shane Jones hopes action on irrigation 'gives confidence' to rural NZ

Rural Exchange 10/03/2018

When the $1 billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) was launched in Gisborne last month,  Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said it would no longer support uber mega irrigation schemes.

Mr Jones joined Hamish McKay and Richard Loe on Rural Exchange to discuss the future of irrigation for rural New Zealand.

“We identified that irrigation is essential to the growth of a lot of our regions,” said Mr Jones.

He said that despite dropping uber irrigation schemes, “there remains some wiggle room within the fund to pursue better water management and water storage”.

That’s just simple as learning arithmetic as a six-year-old.

The PGF allocated $543,000 for the next stage of the Makauri Managed Aquifer Recharge trial in Gisborne. The project aims to inject water from the Waipaoa River into the aquifer for use on 3000 hectares of irrigated horticultural farm land.

Mr Jones hopes this will give rural New Zealand confidence that he’s got their backs.

“…my party, myself, my leader and the broader Government do accept that you can’t have on-going productivity out of rural New Zealand in the absence of water.

“That’s just simple as learning arithmetic as a six-year-old.”

Mr Jones said the PGF has the potential to make a real difference to the people of provincial New Zealand.

The PGF aims to “enhance economic development opportunities, create sustainable jobs, contribute to community well-being, lift the productivity potential of regions, and help meet New Zealand’s climate change targets.”

Watch the full interview with Shane Jones above.

Rural Exchange with Hamish McKay, Sarah Perriam and Richard Loe, 5-7am Saturday and Sunday on RadioLIVE with Carter’s Tyre Service. Click here for all the ways to watch and listen.