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Nelson MP Dr Nick Smith is relieved the new Coalition Government is honouring the previous National Government’s commitment of $35 million towards the Waimea Community Dam despite yesterday’s announcement that Crown Irrigation would be wound up.

“National views the Waimea Community Dam as the only practical way we can lift summer minimum river flows, improve water quality and grow our successful horticulture industries on the Waimea Plains. The $82 million cost is beyond what the community and irrigators can afford so our Government committed to provide $42 million in support made up of a $7 million grant from the Environment Ministry and $35 million in capital funding at discounted rates from Crown Irrigators.

“The cancellation of any further Government support makes it vital that we get this project over the line or the region will lose the $52 million in Government funding. I am encouraged that Waimea Irrigators is 90% of the way to its $16.5milllion initial target and urge other landowners to come aboard during this last week. They will not get a better deal. I am also urging both Councils to ensure they contribute.

“We have this unique opportunity to provide water security for the next century for horticulture and housing as well as address long standing problems of summer low flow and algae blooms. We will regret for decades if we let this $42 million of funding slip away.”

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