The $80 million confirmed in the Budget for irrigation will help to get regional water schemes flowing around the country.
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said the drought that much of New Zealand experienced over the summer has illustrated the need for better water storage.
Mr Guy said in the long-term, the Government is looking to invest $400 million in regional irrigation schemes.
He said more than 400,000 hectares are not under irrigation that could be under some form of irrigation.
Mr Guy said New Zealand does not have a water shortage issue but a water storage issue. Only about 2% of the rainfall is collected and stored in New Zealand.
Mr Guy said a Crown company will be established to work through the business cases that come to them to make decisions on which projects could get up and running.
But Mr Guy was disappointed with the Labour and Green parties' refusal to support irrigation.