17 Mar 2016

Irrigation call short-sighted - Tasman mayor

4:50 pm on 17 March 2016

The Tourism Export Council's call for a moratorium on irrigation schemes is short-sighted and naive, Tasman District Mayor Richard Kempthorne says.

The tourism council this week called for a five-year moratorium on new schemes in the wake of the dairy downturn, arguing that tourism relies on the country's clean, green image and irrigation is leading to more intensive farming and more pollution.

But Mr Kempthorne said the belief irrigation was solely for the benefit of dairy farmers was naive.

"What it did also was hitch two different sectors of our economy against each other, which I don't think is necessary at all.

"I think we just all need to be working and maximising benefit for each other."

Mr Kempthorne said Tasman's two primary economic drivers were tourism and horticulture, and the district had been working for some time on plans for a large dam to service the local economy.