20 Apr 2010

Urgent need for national water strategy - INZ

1:45 pm on 20 April 2010

Irrigation New Zealand has renewed its call for a national water strategy, in the wake of a report identifying the need to expand irrigation as essential for economic growth of the agricultural industry.

Accounting firm KPMG's Agribusiness Agenda released this week the Government needs to develop a national strategy for water management and allocation.

It says a strategy would provide certainty over the access, quality and cost of water to agribusinesses and would stop its management being delayed or blocked by local political issues.

This comes just weeks after the Government sacked the Canterbury regional council for inadequate water management.

Irrigation New Zealand chairman Graeme Sutton says New Zealand is a water-rich country but most of its resouce flows out to sea.

He says it is essential the Government develops a national water strategy as its management is not being handled properly by local bodies.

Mr Sutton says water storage needs to be a priority in any national framework.

In June last year, Environment Minister Nick Smith announced that a reform of New Zealand's fresh water management was needed and the Government was intent on establishing a national framework.