Hunter Downs Irrigation
Benefits to our region
Waimate District is in the southern part of South Canterbury, and is a relatively small economy. The HDW command area is within the Waimate District, which in turn is part of the larger South Canterbury economy, which includes the major service centre and port of Timaru.
Waimate District experienced very strong economic growth in 2012, with a report by BERL estimating that the District had annual GDP growth of >3% for the period 2006 - 2011, which was driven largely by growth in the primary sector.
The wider economic benefits of the scheme to the South Canterbury region are important to understand to foster well informed support for the scheme. While social, recreational and environmental benefits are all important considerations, the direct on farm and farm-related financial, economic resilience and employment benefits to the region are of relevance to the Scheme viability.
Meridian Energy commissioned Butcher Partners Limited in 2011 to undertake a preliminary assessment of the wider regional economic impacts of the scheme.
The results showed that, based upon the assumptions used:
In addition to increased district wide employment and diversification of land-use (for horticulture, beef and dairy) the scheme will provide for restoration of the Wainono ecosystem and town supply giving security for future growth and development.
The success of the scheme rests not only on acknowledgment of community requirements and effective distribution but also on affordability. It has to deliver efficiently to ensure farmer and community support.