2 Jul 2013

Government's new irrigation company launched

2:04 pm on 2 July 2013

The Government's new irrigation investment company has been established and will begin putting money into large-scale irrigation projects around the country.

Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy announced on Monday the launch of the Crown Irrigation Investments company, which has a budget of $80 million this year.

Company chair Alison Paterson says it will be looking to support well-designed projects on the Government's behalf and will be particularly focused on community engagement.

A lack of community approval was one of the reasons cited by the Otago Regional Council when it turned down a request for funding by the Tarras Water Company last week.

The Tarras Water company had been seeking about $3.5 million from the council for its plan to take water from the Clutha River to supply 40 properties, covering about 6000 hectares in the district that lies between Cromwell and Wanaka.

Regional council chairman Stephen Woodhead says the irrigation scheme wasn't able to get the 70% support it needed from farmers either.

The Tarras Water company says it has withdrawn its prospectus and is looking at returning deposits and subscription cheques to their owners. The company's board will meet again to decide what to do next.