TrustPower and Ngai Tahu Holdings may fund up to 40 per cent of the capital costs of the controversial Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in Hawkes Bay.
The power company and the commercial arm of the South Island tribe have signed a memorandum of understanding with Hawkes Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) to potentially invest in the scheme, which would take enough water from the Tukituki River to irrigate up to 30,000ha.
The resource consent applications are now before a board of inquiry with the Environmental Protection Authority. The estimated capital cost, including water storage and distribution infrastructure, is $265 million.
HBRIC managing director Andrew Newman said farmers and landowners were likely to have the opportunity to invest in the scheme though no money would be sought or equity capital raised until an investment statement was available.