IrrigationNZ has made great strides in the last 12 months, with a revitalised strategy put to work propelling the organisation to new heights.
The organisation held its annual general meeting (AGM) via Zoom yesterday, and revealed to members that for the first time in three years the organisation has ended the financial year in the black.
“I joined IrrigationNZ just before last year’s AGM. We had just completed a restructure, decided to move the head office to Wellington, and were close to another annual loss,” says Ms Winning.
“It was a challenge that the board was very upfront and honest about. Over this past year, despite no conference and other Covid related issues, we have managed to turn this around and in just eight months we reached surplus and have grown our base. This will enable us to deliver even more for our members.”
IrrigationNZ also increased its focus on informing and shaping regulation that will impact the primary sector, which saw a move of the organisation’s HQ from down south to the capital city in order to put them closer to government decision-makers.
In the past 12 months, IrrigationNZ has lodged five submissions to policy changes, such as the Water Services Bill, Dam Safety Implementation Act, Climate Change Amendment Act, Resource Management’s proposed Natural and Built Environments Act (NBA), and earlier draft legislation on Farm Environment Plans.
“Policy change is coming thick and fast, and we know it is overwhelming to many,” says Ms Winning. “We’re pushing hard to gain policy concessions that work for our members and have been successful on a number of occasions. Our biggest successes have been from working with the policy implementation teams and working through more practical implementation programmes.
“I’m particularly proud of the recent publishing of the Water Availability and Security (WAS) work which we have spent the past 12 months working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) on. It is a step in the right direction for finally creating a strategy for productive community and recreational use of water, which is long overdue.”
IrrigationNZ Chair Keri Johnston is excited by the revitalised focus of the organisation and believes they’re going from strength to strength.
“Our updated strategy is one of an organisation that is reinvigorated, future-focused, and clear about who we are, what we do, and why we exist. We have a permanent home now in Wellington, which is perfect for us, and the team is happy and settled here. It is within five minutes’ walk of many of our fellow industry groups, and parliament,” says Ms Johnston.
The organisation has greatly increased its presence in government working and advisory groups on the big issues affecting the primary sectors.
Vanessa believes that IrrigationNZ has an important role to play in shaping the way forward for New Zealand, and is excited to continue advocating for the primary sector with the help of her dedicated team.
“Without water we don’t have choices,” explains Ms Winning. “It’s as simple as no water – no food.
“Access to reliable water is going to be essential for addressing environmental and climate outcomes. IrrigationNZ will continue to emphasise the need for an overarching water strategy for New Zealand, so that we can identify better strategic outcomes, build resilience for our rural communities, and recognise our potential as a nation.”
IrrigationNZ’s annual report for the 2020 financial year can be found here.