Irrigators should spread good news

Responsible irrigators need to spread the word about good work being done in the primary sector, Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan says.

Mr Cadogan, who spoke at the opening of the Irrigation New Zealand conference in Alexandra yesterday, said the primary and irrigation sectors were "under pressure" from the public to act responsibly, but did not court publicity and the public therefore sometimes did not know about their positive actions.

Irrigators should not be afraid to "tell the good news", Mr Cadogan said.

He said it was important for the public to realise there was no direct line between irrigation and degradation of land and water quality, and there was sometimes a disconnect between town and country.

However, Mr Cadogan also advised those in the primary sector of ways to help their relationship with the rest of the country.

"Don’t preach that the country relies on primary industries. We do rely on primary industries, but that attitude isn’t going to create friends.

"And don’t watch any degradation [of land or waterways] that does happen. Silence is a very close cousin of support."

Mr Cadogan said it was good to be able to showcase both the "successes and challenges" of Central Otago irrigation to the more than 400 people attending the Irrigation New Zealand conference.

One of the success stories was the collaborative effort of Kyeburn Catchment Ltd irrigators, which was close to achieving a new global water consent to replace historic individual permits.

A panel discussing "Irrigation in 2025 — Developing a vision for the irrigation sector" was a keynote part of yesterday’s conference. The conference finishes today with more presentations and workshops.

pam.jones@odt.co.nz

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