Wetlands and waterways gain from 1BT funding

The Government will invest $10 million from the One Billion Trees Fund for large-scale planting to provide jobs in communities and improve the environment, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones have announced.

New, more flexible funding criteria for applications will help up to 10 catchment groups plant landscapes at a whole of catchment scale, enabling them to achieve the greatest environmental outcomes.

“The funding changes are designed to increase planting and improve waterways. They are a practical example of how this Government is listening to and working with people to support them in their desire to make environmental and freshwater improvements,” Shane Jones said.

“Importantly, as we look to support those affected by the economic fallout from COVID-19, these large-scale planting and restoration initiatives will also provide employment in their communities and support the plant nursery sector.”

Catchment groups will also be able to apply for funding for associated costs such as land preparation, labour and pest control.

The revised funding criteria has been expanded to include suitable plants such as grasses and shrubs, and planting of areas of less than 1ha, to support planting along waterways and in wetlands.

The funding is in addition to the up to $100m from the Provincial Growth Fund Shane Jones announced recently for waterway fencing, riparian planting and stock water reticulation

Alongside this work, the Ministry of Primary Industries is also working with a wide range of catchment groups around New Zealand to support their work to lift freshwater quality and farming practice, Damien O’Connor said.

“We have a goal to reach up to 2200 farmers over the next three years.

“Catchment groups provide wonderful opportunities for famers to support and learn from each other. They also provide an avenue for collaborative, grass-roots action to resolve local issues, including improving sustainability and improving water quality.

“MPI’s extension work is funded through the $229m Productive and Sustainable Land Use package announced in Budget 2019, which includes more than $35m for on-the-ground support via extension services.

“So far, through this package, we have supported a group of 1000 Southland farmers and growers through funding the Thriving Southland project and 300 King Country farmers through funding to King Country River Care. More are in the pipeline, we’re looking to support a further six catchment and community groups through extension projects in the coming weeks.

“Together, the One Billion Trees Fund and the Productive and Sustainable Land Use package work together to achieve the environmental goals the Coalition Government has set”, Damien O’Connor said.

The purpose of the One Billion Trees Fund is to provide support and incentives for tree establishment in partnership with landowners and communities.

The programme aims to ensure that the right tree is planted in the right place for the right purpose.