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Govt asks MPI, Crown Irrigation for review

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3 days ago Paul McBeth
water © Corbis images water

The Ministry for Primary Industries and Crown Irrigation Investments Ltd are reviewing the previous government's mechanism for funding water storage schemes to figure out what the new government is on the hook for.

MPI investment programmes director Justine Gilliland told parliament's primary production select committee it is working through the terms of existing contracts and commitments, on which it will report back to the minister.

"We will need to work with CIIL to understand the obligations, then provide advice to ministers," Ms Gilliland said. "It will a couple of months to get through all of them."

Ms Gilliland said it was too early to consider whether any compensation would be needed, and that was a secondary issue.

National Party primary sector spokesman Nathan Guy, the former minister, questioned officials about how they understood the coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First, which says existing Crown Irrigation investment commitments will be honoured.

CIIL chief executive Murray Gribben told MPs there were currently 10 development contracts, one construction contract with Central Plains Water in Canterbury, and three other schemes close to a financial close, which would mean the government entity would provide construction funding within the next six-to-nine months.

"My understanding is that the briefing paper going to ministers is designed to make sure that there's a fully transparent process around what commitments have been made to all the various schemes - legal as well as non-legal," he said.

"We are doing what we did six months ago today - we are still writing checks, still funding schemes [and] we have not stopped until we get new advice from ministers and shareholders."

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