Funding to clean up slash and debris in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay


The Government is supporting the clean up of slash and debris in Tairāwhiti and Hawke’s Bay and aims to remove up to 70,000 tonnes of woody debris from river and catchment systems, Forestry Minister Peeni Henare said.

“Debris from forestry in these regions has had a devastating impact on infrastructure, rivers and communities and this fund will go some way to support the clean-up,” Peeni Henare said.

“What is clear, and was also highlighted by the Ministerial Inquiry led by Hekia Parata, is that debris must be cleaned up fast to prevent further damage and prepare for any future events.

“I will take time to carefully consider the report in full, but we need to get on with the clean up straight away. My officials will be meeting with councils and reaching out to iwi and community groups to determine what are the priority catchments where infrastructure and communities are most at risk, and how we can best assist.

“I want to make sure that this recovery is one for the whole community. This will involve council, iwi and experts working together closely to prioritise and remove as much woody debris as possible from rivers and catchments to reduce further damage to key infrastructure and communities.

“Local contractors will be engaged to assist with debris removal, chipping and haulage.

“The $10.15 million from Budget 2023 also includes funding for slash management traps to contain debris from entering waterways in the first place. These are critical short to medium-term measures that will reduce the risk of more infrastructure damage from any further movement in this material during future weather events,” Peeni Henare said.

The Government is also continuing to focus on initiatives that help reduce the impacts of severe weather events by investing $25.2 million over the next four years to protect around 21,000 hectares of hill country farmland across Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Erosion and its effects are estimated to cost New Zealand's economy more than $250 million a year. Not only does it damage productive farmland but as we have seen from the devastation of Cyclones Hale and Gabrielle it can also have a significant impact on infrastructure and communities further downstream,” Peeni Henare said.

The funding will help 14 councils protect some of the country’s most erosion-prone land and keep productive soils on farms and out of waterways by reducing run-off.

“We are seeing an increase in the frequency and severity of flooding events across the country due to a changing climate and we need more of the right trees in the right places to mitigate against the effects of climate change,” Peeni Henare said. 

Media contact:  Irena Smith 021 845 205

Notes for editors

$10 million from Budget 2023

  • The fund will go to Gisborne District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to take short to medium term measures that limit the damage of any further movement of woody debris material. Measures will include removal, disposal and/or containment.
  • Councils will need to work with iwi in deciding how the clean up is prioritised and sequenced. Local contractors will be engaged to assist with debris removal, chipping, and haulage.
  • Indicative costs estimate the fund will enable the removal of up to 70,000 tonnes of woody debris from high-risk areas in rivers and catchment systems within the Gisborne District Council and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.
  • Forestry slash is only one component of woody debris. The composition of the woody debris differs from catchment to catchment and is largely the result of whatever tree species is dominant in the catchment upstream.

Hill Country Erosion Fund

  • The Hill Country Erosion Fund (HCEF) operates four-yearly contestable funding rounds and is open to proposals from regional councils and unitary authorities.
  • The HCEP’s 2023 funding round was held last year when a panel of representatives from several Government agencies, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, and Beef + Lamb NZ assessed applications.
  • Support offered to farmers through council programmes include on-farm planning, retirement of land, native revegetation, exotic forestry (where appropriate), and widely spaced or gully plantings of poplar and willow trees within paddocks.

Councils that have been awarded HCEF funding for the 2023 funding round are:

  • Auckland Council, Hill Country Erosion Protection Programme - $ 150,000
  • Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Bay of Plenty Hill Country Erosion Programme - $ 774,480
  • Environment Canterbury, Kaikōura/Hurunui Soil Conservation and Revegetation Programme (SCAR) - $ 1,902,359
  • Environment Southland, Southland Catchment Erosion Programme - $ 150,000
  • Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Erosion Control Scheme Booster - $ 3,638,000
  • Horizons Regional Council, Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) - $ 3,638,000
  • Gisborne District Council, Tairawhiti Capacity Building and Erosion Control - $ 903,283
  • Greater Wellington Regional Council, Wellington Region Erosion Control Initiative (WRECI) - $ 3,638,000
  • Marlborough District Council, Hill Country Erosion Funding for Marlborough District Council - $ 910,936
  • Nelson City Council, Nelson Hill Country Stabilisation Project - $ 857,460
  • Northland Regional Council, Northland Hill Country Erosion Programme - $ 1,705,999
  • Otago Regional Council, Otago Erosion Control – Capacity Building, Prioritisation and Rehabilitation - $ 429,537
  • Taranaki Regional Council, South Taranaki & Regional Erosion Support Scheme (STRESS) - $ 3,638,000
  • Waikato Regional Council, Waikato Hill Country Erosion Control Programme - $ 2,862,487