Manawatū-Whanganui region gets $1 million Government cash injection to plant 1.3 million trees

Minister of Forestry Shane Jones says almost $1m will be spent from the Provincial Growth Fund to plant 1,350,000 trees in the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

The PGF will provide $960,600 in funding, Horizons Regional Council will provide $392,000 and land owners will contribute just under $563,000, Mr Jones said in a release.

The trees will contribute to Mr Jones' plan of planting a billion trees across the country over the next 10 years.

"We have the landowners, the land and the seedlings and the Horizons Regional Council has the right relationships with landowners in their region so a partnership of this kind makes perfect sense," Mr Jones said.

"The regional council will work with up to 40 landowners through their sustainable land use initiative to get trees into the ground in the next few months.

"The funding will also provide for up to 20 customised forest land appraisals for landowners considering planting trees on more than 50 hectares of their land - which would result in a significant change in land use on the farm.

"The establishment of more trees in the region will further lift productivity, incomes and help diversify land use. From this additional planting alone we expect at least ten permanent jobs to be created over the trees' life cycle.

"Some of these jobs will be situated in some of the most remote and isolated communities in the region where unemployment is high.

"Environmentally, the tree planting will reduce erosion and sedimentation in the area and enhance climate change mitigation and improved water quality.

"This is about more than an investment in trees - it's an investment in people, our regional communities and our environment."

The fund came out of the coalition agreement between Labour and NZ First.
Source: 1 NEWS



Inside Parliament: New Zealand's overcrowded prisons 'haven't changed' in decades – 1987 news item illustrates

In the latest episode of Inside Parliament, the 1 NEWS political team show how New Zealand's overcrowded prisons are hardly a new problem, after discovering an eerily familiar news track from 1987.

Political Editor Jessica Mutch and political reporter Katie Bradford watched the old news piece about crowded prison cells in Hamilton, and how Corrections were resorting to using police station cells to house inmates. 

"Thirty years on and we've added in a working group to the mix," Mutch said.

"But I always find it fascinating with these historic clips that we get up just how familiar they are, how the questions are the same.

"Usually the characters are different but not always. Perhaps not with Winston Peters. But it's just kind of interesting, asking the same questions, doing the same things. We can learn a lot from history."

A weekly catch up with our political reporters about the stories they’ve been covering. Source: 1 NEWS

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1NEWS’ Jessica Mutch and Katie Bradford discuss a 1987 news piece reporting on overcrowded prisons. Source: 1 NEWS

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Government pitching in $10m for new high-speed gondola at Whakapapa ski field

A $25 million high-speed gondola will be built at Whakapapa ski field, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced.

A $10 million loan from Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will be granted to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts Ltd, with the remaining $15 million coming from local government and local investors along with the operator.

The project is being hailed as a boost for tourism across the central North Island.

The gondola will replace the national chairlift, with Mr Jones saying it "has capacity to safely and swiftly transport up to 2,400 passengers per hour to Knoll Ridge Café in 10 person cabins – a journey that will take five minutes".

Mr Jones said it will attract an estimated 500,000 additional visitor days by 2025 and increase the number of non-skiers visiting.

"As part of a suite of other projects, this could be transformative for the central North Island and the Ruapehu district in particular.

"The new gondola will enhance the upper mountain at Whakapapa and allow it to become a year-round destination, providing greater certainty for employers and stable employment for local workers.

"The project is part of a broader plan to boost visitor numbers to the Ruapehu and Taupo districts, and is expected to have significant economic and social impacts in those communities.

"The Gondola has the potential to be the linchpin investment creating the 'must do' attraction around which other investments would work."

Construction is set to begin in November, with the gondola likely to be in use by next winter.

The gondola will take five minutes to transport passengers to Knoll Ridge Cafe in 10 person cabins. Source: Supplied