Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was joined by Minister for Forestry Shane Jones and Associate Minister Meka Whaitiri to announce plans to spend $240 million more in grants from the Provincial Growth Fund toward the government's One Billion Trees programme. The money will support exotic and native planting ventures as well as workforce training.
The Government’s goal of planting more trees to create sustainable jobs and address climate change is receiving a $240 million boost, Forestry Minister Shane Jones has today announced.
As part of the One Billion Trees programme, Cabinet has approved the creation of a new grants programme and partnership fund to get more trees in the ground and provide training and employment opportunities.
“Forestry is a fundamental part of this Government’s regional development programme and we need to work with everyday New Zealanders because they are the key to achieving our tree planting target over the next ten years,” Shane Jones said.
“We’re allocating $240 million from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to support tree planting in areas where wider social, environmental, and regional development goals can be achieved.
“The Government plays an important role in setting the right conditions for forestry growth and we need to work with everyday New Zealanders because they are the key to achieving our tree planting target over the next ten years.
“We’re strengthening our support for planting over the next three to four years in areas where there are currently limited commercial drivers for investment, and where wider social, environmental or regional development benefits can be achieved.
“The new grants scheme will provide simple and accessible direct funding to landowners for the cost of planting and establishing trees and regenerating indigenous forest. Private landowners, government agencies, NGOs and iwi will all be able to apply.
“These grants will be available from later this year and we’re aiming to encourage the planting of natives, trees for erosion control, and environmentally-focused planting – all ensuring we have the right tree in the right place for the right purpose.
“These grants will see an additional 60 million new trees in the ground over the next three years.
“On top of this, a new partnership fund will create an even closer working relationship between Te Uru Rākau and regional councils, NGOs, training organisations, Māori landowners and community groups.
“This approach will allow us to leverage co-funding opportunities and existing know-how and experience.
“We’ll be looking at promoting innovation, securing sufficient labour to get trees in the ground and providing support and advice to landowners on how they can improve land-use,” Shane Jones said.
The new initiatives will be funded through the PGF with about $118 million set aside for grants and a further $120 million for partnership projects over three years.
This is in addition to the $245m already committed from the PGF to kick-start the programme, which includes funding for joint ventures and the expansion of the Hill Country Erosion programme.