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Irrigation funding to help boost New Zealand exports

Staff writer |
Further funding for agricultural irrigation could help open up 420,000 hectares in arable land and boost New Zealand exports by around 4 billion NZ dollars ($3.47 billion) a year by 2026, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said.

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Responding to the government's annual budget, Mr. Guy said the 40 million NZ dollars ($34.7 million) in new funding for irrigation projects would deliver economic and environmental benefits. "This will help unlock the potential that water storage and irrigation can deliver, giving a real boost to jobs and exports in regional economies."

The extra funding was in addition to 80 million NZ dollars ($69.45 million) allocated in last year's budget. "Irrigation often has real environmental benefits, with more consistent river flows in summer and reduced pressure on ground water sources," said Mr. Guy. "Only 2 percent of rainfall in New Zealand is captured and used for irrigation. Clearly we need to do a better job of using this precious resource."

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