The government’s new freshwater laws, signed off this week, have the potential to create significant unnecessary costs for ratepayers, farmers and entire communities, Federated Farmers says.
Federated Farmers says it is outstanding news for the region, and a welcome signal of intent for the rest of New Zealand.
The funding will go towards a $7 million investment in Wairarapa Water Ltd for pre-construction development of water storage and distribution infrastructure at Wakamoekau.
$110,000 will also go towards the development of a Wairarapa water resilience strategy.
"This is about water security and growth enhancement for the entire community, not just agriculture and horticulture," says Wairarapa Federated Farmers president William Beetham.
"It’s sprung from a realisation that if we don’t have improved water supply, some of our biggest companies and employers are under threat going forward.
"Water storage and security is also crucial as back-up when domestic supply in our towns is under strain during dry seasons. It’s also important for our environment - with good storage we can lessen the need to take water from our rivers in the summer low flow periods."
Beetham, who is on the governance group for the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy, says all sectors of the region had put any differences aside and worked together on the project, including rural water users, the regional council and three local authorities, businesses and all local MPs.
"There is no rural/urban divide in this case. And credit to the government for listening to the science and the strong business case."