Irrigation - should you pay for it?

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Boring or not, questions about who pays and who benefits from new investment in irrigation really matter if you live in inland Otago.

With some big schemes in the offing - Tarras and the Manuherikia among others - with some colourful shenanigans happening around the regional council table, with the CODC acting as backstop, and with a lot of opiniated members of the public, this is definitely the topic of the day.

So who benefits? The irrigators, obviously - with opportunities to intensify land use and enhance the value of their land-holding. But so they should - they'll be spending most of the money, and taking most of the risk.

The community? Of course. New jobs, new vitality, new owners, new investors - the list of benefits to you and me are long, and well proven. New and enhanced irrigation may well be the saviour of Tarras and the Manuherikia, and the Ida Valley and parts of the Maniototo. Heartland Central Otago.

Should there be a ratepayer contribution? Seems a no-brainer. We'll all benefit, and as long as we don't pay more than the value of that benefit, why wouldn't we help?

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