Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters has defended multi-million dollar provincial growth fund money for Northland water storage.
The New Zealand First leader, along with Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones, were recently in Dargaville to announce up to $12.745 million PGF funding top-up for water storage initiatives in the region.
The Dargaville visit by the Mr Peters and Minister Jones came just four months after Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor jointly announced New Zealand's biggest freshwater management reforms in a generation.
The freshwater reforms' consultation document Action for Healthy Waterways said the government wanted to tightly restrict any further intensification of land use through interim measures.
But the Deputy Prime Minister said that final local manifestations of how New Zealand's national freshwater reforms eventually played out in the North – and other parts of New Zealand - meant the government's funding top up for Northland water storage project was not inappropriate.
"We are providing up to $12.745 million through the provincial growth fund to ensure the region (Northland) has a reliable water supply which can be used to develop underutilised land, grow new markets, create jobs and put more money into the local economy.”