IrrigationNZ is pleased to see that approval of a much needed water storage project in Northland to support horticulture, agriculture and provide drinking water is the first ‘cab off the rank’ under the Government’s Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-Track Consenting) Act.
IrrigationNZ CEO Vanessa Winning commented on the announcement made by Minister Parker:
“These are exactly the types of projects we are keen to see more of as part of New Zealand’s Covid recovery process, and as a focus for regional investment.
“To get such a big infrastructure approval through in less than two months shows what can be done if the Government, iwi, and industry work together with common goals.
“This move also supports signals for positive changes to the RMA – something we would welcome to allow for more streamlined and fair investment.
“The Matawii Water Storage Reservoir will not only provide for basic human needs such as drinking water, but will also support the wider community by creating jobs, providing opportunity to grow fresh produce on ‘the doorstep’, and will undoubtedly lead to incremental flow on investment. Properly managed harvested water can also support rivers and streams maintaining healthy ecosystems and ecological habitats in dry seasons.
“And while the increase in GDP, estimated at $9m a year and additional 60 jobs the project will create is important for Kaikohe – the investment into improving the land will also have positive long term impacts for the region.
“We are heartened by this regional focus under the Fast Track Consenting Act, and are keen for the incoming Government to further progress sensible water capture and storage infrastructure desperately needed in the driest parts of our country, where security of food production is becoming more difficult,” concludes Ms Winning.
More information about the Matawii decision is on the EPA website. More information about applications for fast-tracking through the Order in Council process is on the MfE website.