TODAY |

One Billion Trees initiative boosted by $10 million

The One Billion Trees fund is set to recieve a further $10 million from the Government to help support larger scale planting projects and in turn produce more jobs. 

Recently planted pine trees (file picture). Source: istock.com

According to Agriculture Minister Damien O'Connor and Forestry Minister Shane Jones, a maximum of 10 new catchment groups will be funded in an effort to plant more extensive landscapes. 

It's funding that comes in addition to the $100 million dedicated to fencing off waterways, riparian planting and stock water reticulation as promised in the boost to the Provisional Growth Fund. 

Mr Jones says the new funding to the Billion Trees initiative shows the Government is listening to the public's desire to improve New Zealand's environment and waterways while also helping to support those affected by Covid-19.

"These large-scale planting and restoration initiatives will also provide employment in their communities and support the plant nursery sector."

The criteria for the One Billion Trees fund has been expanded, making it more flexible for groups to apply for larger project funding. 

Planting in areas which spread across less than a hectare in size, as well as suitable plants such as grasses and shrubs, will now be eligable for support in work along wetlands and waterways. 

Mr O'Connor says the cash injection into the One Billion Trees fund will help to work in support of the Sustainable Land Use package for farmers. 

In 2019's Budget, $229 million was pledged to the Productive and Sustainable Land Use package aimed to help improve farming prctices and fresh waterways quality. 

Mr O'Connor says the Government aims to reach up to 2200 farmers with the initiative over the next three years, with 1300 farmers across Southland and King Country already supported. 

"More are in the pipeline, we're looking to support a further six catchment and community groups through extension projects in the coming weeks."