1BT funds create jobs and lasting benefits

Forestry Minister Shane Jones has announced $6 million of One Billion Trees funding for seven regional initiatives to create jobs and provide long-lasting environmental and economic benefits.

The projects range from improving one of the poorest-quality water catchments in Otago to restoring 52km of waterways around Hokianga Harbour. Six of the seven projects are funded as part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature initiative.

“These investments will support the work of many landowners, regional councils and community groups to prevent soil erosion, improve waterways and biodiversity, while creating vital jobs as New Zealand moves beyond the uncertainty of COVID-19,” Shane Jones said.

“The largest investment of $2.33 million will see nearly half a million indigenous tree species planted and fencing of native forest in the 7377ha hill country Hukarere Station in Otago. These will help to manage erosion while creating up to 25 jobs.

“On the West Coast, Conservation Volunteers NZ will receive $413,362 for the Punakaiki Land Restoration Project to fund 7.5 full-time jobs. This will allow the planting of 10,000 trees per month over the next 12 months, overcoming the shortage of tourist volunteers for this work.

“Planting native trees on the Punakaiki coastal flats and river helps increase the breeding habitat of the ‘at-risk’ tāiko, the Westland petrel, and supports the habitat of whitebait.”

Shane Jones said supporting restoration projects on Māori-held land and providing jobs was a key objective.

“A total of $1.49 million will be directed to the Waikato Regional Council and partners for two projects involving local iwi. Firstly, funding will enable the Manaia River sub-catchment restoration project to provide around six full-time jobs and training for a workforce of 10 to deliver long-term change. Secondly, a partnership project with Ngāti Haua Mahi Trust will restore areas in the Karapiro catchment through planting more than 100,000 natives from community-run nurseries.

“Bay of Plenty Regional Council will receive $1.49 million for planting to enhance biodiversity and reduce erosion on more than 250ha. This includes restoration of the popular Kaiate Falls swimming hole near Tauranga, described as a game-changer for Welcome Bay, Tauranga Moana and the catchment.”

“Further north, Hokianga Harbour Care will receive $266,906 to fund a co-ordinator to guide catchment restoration with landholders, creating demand for seedlings from three community nurseries and funding part-time nursery workers for two years.

“All of these projects will provide long-lasting environmental and economic benefits and jobs, representing a win-win for communities across the country,” Shane Jones said.

For more information about the One Billion Trees Fund visit:  https://www.teururakau.govt.nz/funding-and-programmes/forestry/one-billion-trees-programme/