Budget 2015: New Afforestation Grant SchemePrimary Industries Budget 2015
The Government has today confirmed a multi-million dollar reboot of the popular Afforestation Grant Scheme (AGS), Associate Primary Industries Minister Jo Goodhew says.
The new version of the scheme will see $22.5 million invested over the next six years to encourage the planting of an expected 15,000 hectares of new forest.
“The new scheme will take up where its highly successful predecessor left off,” Mrs Goodhew says. “Farmers and landowners can again use the AGS to make better use of marginal land and increase farming diversification.”
Under the previous scheme, from 2008 to 2013, more than 12,000 hectares of new forest was planted, much of it on erosion prone land. This improved water quality and reduced the impact of severe flooding.
“Increased forest planting under the previous AGS also led to an additional 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide stored in our forests, mitigating climate change and counting towards New Zealand’s national emission reduction targets,” Mrs Goodhew says.
“Over the life cycle of these trees, from planting through to harvesting, we expect the AGS to make a significant contribution to the forestry industry and support services, increase jobs and help grow our regional economies across New Zealand.”
MPI will manage the scheme with support from regional councils and iwi which will help identify under-utilised land best suited for forest planting.
The announcement delivers on an election promise made by National last year. Successful applicants will receive $1,300 per hectare for new forest planting, with priority given to applications addressing environmental issues such as erosion.
Applications for the scheme will open on May 27 and close on 30 June 2015. This will ensure enough time to factor in the growing and ordering of seedlings and necessary land preparation before planting in winter 2016.