Co-op has the good oil on water

Co-op has the good oil on water

Irrigation NZ is the industry body that supports and advises over 3,600 irrigators, service providers and irrigation schemes throughout NZ. Established in the 1980s, the support organisation is member-funded and promotes industry excellence while being the expert on all things irrigation.

From its HQ in Lincoln near Christchurch, Irrigation NZ provides a wealth of information and support to its broad base of Members. Its services include:

  • Advocacy with local and central government, and community stakeholder groups on irrigation and water use-related issues
  • Education and training opportunities through practical workshops in collaboration with the primary sector; NZQA-recognised training courses; and a bi-annual IrrigationNZ conference
  • Information on ‘all things irrigation’ including publications and a comprehensive suite of online resources
  • Development and implementation of NZ codes of practice, standards and guidelines for irrigation design, installation, evaluation and operation
  • Networking opportunities with irrigators, schemes, collectives and user groups, and service providers
  • Technical assistance – ‘if we can’t help we know someone that can’.

It is estimated that the 3,600 irrigators represented by IrrigationNZ cover over 360,000ha, or half of NZ’s total irrigated area. Most of the country’s irrigation service providers – researchers, suppliers, designers, installers and consultants – are Members of Irrigation NZ as are most New Zealand’s existing and developing irrigation schemes.

Irrigation NZ’s Members include the following Members of Co-operative Business NZ:

Chief Executive Andrew Curtis and Chair Nicky Hyslop.

Irrigation NZ Chair Nicky Hyslop is a registered farm management consultant and a director of Opuha Water Partnership. With husband Jonty, she farms an intensive sheep, beef and arable fully irrigated property at Levels, South Canterbury.

“Having grown up on a high country station, farmed an intensive irrigated property and with farm advisory, I have an appreciation of a range of farming businesses, challenges and above all a desire to see all farming communities continue to prosper economically, environmentally and socially,” says Nicky.

Chief Executive Andrew Curtis has a wealth of irrigation knowledge, and has been the key driver in many policy working groups and industry initiatives to improve communications and outcomes on behalf of farmers and growers.

“I believe that win-win water management scenarios, for both the economy and environment, are achievable in New Zealand. Looking at the challenges ahead, water use efficiency (implementation and uptake of SMART Irrigation), demonstrating environmental performance, uniting communities and promoting irrigation benefits to the wider community are the big issues we face,” says Andrew.

Cooperative Business NZ Chief Executive Craig Presland reports that Irrigation NZ was instrumental in many of the smaller irrigation schemes gaining exemption from the need to produce a Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) when raising share capital from its Members, this new legislation taking effect from 23rd December 2016.

“Irrigation NZ, in tandem with Cooperative Business NZ, was able to successfully lobby with the Financial Markets Authority on behalf of its Members so that exemptions were gained for smaller irrigation schemes whereby their Members were deemed to be so inherently close to the co-operative itself that no additional benefit would be gained by producing a PDS. This has resulted in considerable cost savings for these small irrigation schemes,” says Craig.

Irrigation NZ was co-founded by co-operative and irrigation pioneer, Brian Cameron, pictured here on his Pendarves farm in Ashburton.