The Government has today announced that it has cut public funding for large-scale irrigation through Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL).
Greenpeace is celebrating it as a win for the rivers, and for people power saying that this will mean less intensive dairy expansion, less pollution in our rivers and less agricultural emissions.
Sustainable agriculture campaigner Gen Toop says “this is a huge win for our rivers and all the New Zealanders who’ve worked long and hard to protect them.”
The former National Government had earmarked nearly half a billion dollars of public money for big irrigation projects which would have plagued the countryside with more intensive dairy farms and more cows.
Following huge public pressure and years of campaigning the new Coalition Government is honouring its pre-election promise to wind down public funding for big irrigation schemes.
“These big irrigation schemes, that the National government was funding, would have meant more intensive dairy farms, more polluted rivers and more climate emissions.’
“It was basically National’s slush fund for big dairy” says Toop.
As of this afternoon that funding has been withdrawn, which brings a huge sense of relief and achievement to all those who’ve been standing up for clean rivers.
“Countless rivers have been saved from further destruction today, the Ruamāhanga, the Waitaki, the Hurunui to name just a few.”
Public funding for large scale irrigation has been opposed by a huge cross section of civil society from public health officials, scientists, environmentalists, the tourism industry.
Ordinary New Zealanders from around the country have sent thousands of emails and letters, staged protests, signed petitions and locked themselves to irrigation pipes to stop the schemes from going ahead.
“New Zealand is in the middle of a national freshwater crisis. There are already too many cows for our rivers to cope with.”
“The new Government has listened to the people and made the right decision to cut public funding to destructive big irrigation ” says Toop
“The National Party sadly remains under the anti-scientific delusion that big irrigation is good for the environment, with the supposedly green wing of the party, the Bluegreens promoting a tour of Canterbury irrigation schemes as part of their upcoming annual gathering” says Toop.
“What the world needs more than ever is a shift to regenerative farming to provide food and nutrition into the future without destroying our rivers and our climate. We hope to see the new Government invest in this shift.”