The Government has begun winding down public funding for large-scale irrigation through Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL), in line with the Coalition Agreement and the Confidence & Supply Agreement.
Its decisions are the result of an extensive review of how to wind down funding through CIIL while honouring existing commitments, as provided for in the agreements signed on the formation of the Government.
These decisions will provide certainty to the individual schemes which had applied for Government funding alongside private investment, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says.
“This represents a shift in priorities to the previous government. Large-scale private irrigation schemes should be economically viable on their own, without requiring significant public financing. We must also be mindful of the potential for large-scale irrigation to lead to intensive farming practices which may contribute to adverse environmental outcomes.”
All existing CIIL commitments for development contracts will be honoured to the close of the current phase of each contract. In addition, three schemes will be funded for their construction phases due to their advanced status, subject to meeting the normal requirements of the fund. One is already under construction and the two other schemes have signed term sheets with CIIL.