End of irrigation subsidies a win for taxpayers and environment, say Greens

The Green Party is today marking a significant step toward cleaner rivers and less climate pollution, with the wind down of taxpayer subsidies for industrial irrigation schemes, as outlined in the Confidence and Supply Agreement between the Green and Labour Parties.

“Today’s announcement marks an important step in cleaning up our rivers and protecting our water and climate for generations to come,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“The Green Party’s Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Labour Party promised to wind down government support for irrigation. Today’s announcement delivers on that promise.

“Many of these industrial-scale irrigation schemes weren’t economically viable without taxpayer subsidies and led directly to over-intensive dairy conversions and increases in water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

“New Zealanders want clean rivers and lakes, and they want to be able to trust the water coming out of their taps. We also want to play our part in the global fight against climate change, by significantly reducing our emissions.

“Large-scale irrigation projects and dairy conversions put all of that at risk. The industrial-scale irrigation schemes subsidised by the Crown Irrigation Fund created dependency, increased farm debt and led to increased pollution.

“We need environmentally friendly systems for conserving, managing and storing water, and which build resilience in our farms and in our towns,” said Mr Shaw.

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