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New Auckland City Fund Protects Natural Heritage

New Auckland City Fund Protects Natural Heritage Areas In Hauraki Gulf Islands

A new $50,000 fund to protect natural heritage areas is being set up by Auckland City and will be made available to Hauraki Gulf Islands landowners this financial year.

Detailed criteria for applications will now be drafted by the council’s Heritage Division, which will assess applications according to strict criteria for the assessment of ecological sites. Assistance may be by way of a grant or suspensory loan.

Planning and Regulatory Committee chair Juliet Yates says the fund will help preserve significant natural areas and is part of the council’s biodiversity management strategy.

“This is an important initiative that will help landowners protect areas of benefit to present and future generations,” she said. “Many of the Hauraki Gulf Islands are strongholds for particular species. Great Barrier Island, for example, has a number of endemic native plants and is also a stronghold for the Brown Teal. It’s hoped that some financial assistance may be an incentive for landowners to do what they can to protect such native flora and fauna.”

Cr Yates says it’s the action that will be taken, rather than the size of the fund, which is important. “Sometimes even a relatively small grant can make a big difference,” she said. “For example, a grant for a fence around an ecologically significant site ensures that wandering stock are kept out and plants are protected.”

She added that the scheme would be evaluated next year and may be extended to other areas if successful in the Hauraki Gulf Islands.
Details of the scheme are as follows:

Applications to the Heritage Fund will be considered where:

The level of funding that private landowners have; or are able to obtain from other sources is inadequate.

There will be marked ecological benefits.

Legal mechanisms are put in place to protect the ecological values for future generations.

Maintenance programmes are put in place to enable significant habitats to sustain their ecological values (eg. weed control, pest eradication and fencing from stock).

There is a degree of public benefit and public access.

Land already subject to subdivision incentives or other regulatory incentives for ecological protection will not be eligible for the fund.

Grants will only be paid on completion of works or on proof of purchase of agreed materials or equipment.

The criteria for assessment will be based on a ranking system, when this has been finalised - both quantifying and qualifying the significance of an ecological habitat.

The assistance may be by way of grant or suspensory loan.

ENDS

For further information
Please contact Cr Juliet Yates
Telephone 528 0581 or 025 289 0623

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