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The Government has announced $100 million of operating funding to tackle wilding pines as part of Budget 2020. This operational funding is for four years, and will directly fund regional control work.
The announcement sits within $232 million of funding to support New Zealand’s rural communities, and the impact of COVID-19 on the primary sector. The Government’s priority is to ensure this funding creates job opportunities for people in regions affected by COVID-19, particularly people from the tourism sector, agricultural services and agricultural aviation.
This funding will support a rapid and extensive expansion of the programme, both advancing work in existing management units, and expanding into priority areas where we have not has as much presence. It is operational funding and will primarily fund regional control work. We also expect to seek additional funding contributions from land owners and partners.
The Government announced 55 new biosecurity and conservation projects, funded through the Government’s $100 million regional support package.
The programme featured heavily in this announcement, particularly five new projects to control Wilding Pines in Northland and the Mackenzie Basin, funded through the Government’s $100 million regional support package. $2 million was allocated for projects managed by Environment Canterbury, and $1 million for projects managed by the Northland Regional Council.
These five projects will provide jobs for up to 80 people over three months. Locations were chosen to ensure workers can avoid unnecessary travel. We selected sites where work can begin quickly, matching control work needed to the skills of people available nearby.
Work in Northland will include controlling infestations surrounding the Awanui River, where trees are creating a flood-risk for Kaitāia.
Work along the Kaihū River near Dargaville will remove wilding pines and other problem trees. In Canterbury work will focus on removing wilding pine infestations in the Craigieburn Forest Park and the Mackenzie Basin, protecting both farmland and conservation land in the area.