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Transpower Becomes Major Sponsor Of Landcare Trust

Transpower Becomes Major Sponsor Of The New Zealand Landcare Trust

Sustainable land management in New Zealand has received a huge boost with the announcement today of a major sponsorship of the New Zealand Landcare Trust by Transpower New Zealand Limited. Transpower, the owner and operator of the national electricity grid, will provide significant funding to Landcare Trust over the next three years, which will allow the Trust to extend and improve the services it provides to landcare groups in rural communities around the country. The New Zealand Landcare Trust was established in mid-1996. Since then, most of its funding has come from the Ministry for the Environment, which has enabled the Trust to build a network of regional co-ordinators and foster many of the 300 landcare groups in New Zealand, involving thousands of people.

The Minister for the Environment, Marian Hobbs, said that she strongly supported the activities of the NZ Landcare Trust, its work in promoting sustainable land management and in promoting biodiversity through its close involvement with rural communities throughout New Zealand.

Ms Hobbs said that the Ministry has become more active in the community, and takes a strong line in pushing for what is good for the environment and in promoting understanding of environmental issues and solutions. The Landcare Trust is part of this push and has a vital educational role to play in the rural community. Transpower chief executive officer Bob Thomson said that the sponsorship was part of Transpower's commitment to the environment and to rural communities, and its support for the work the Landcare Trust was doing in the area of sustainable land management. It was one way that Transpower supports rural communities. "Transpower works every day with rural communities throughout New Zealand and understands the value of these positive and effective working relationships with these communities. We welcome the opportunity to work with the Landcare Trust and through them, to continue to work with rural communities," Mr Thomson said.

The Trust is run from Christchurch by National Co-ordinator Don Ross, who manages a national team of five regional co-ordinators, and other staff. The new Transpower sponsorship will enable the Trust to provide more support and encouragement to landcare groups, and will result in even more "action on the ground", says Mr Ross.

The sponsorship became effective from November 2000.

For more comment, please contact: For photographs, please contact: Don Ross 021 355-018. Pauline Forrest 021 355-018

MEDIA BACKGROUNDER

THE NEW ZEALAND LANDCARE TRUST Providing focus in sustainable land management.

A national landcare network, involving thousands of people, is run from Christchurch by the New Zealand Landcare Trust.

Don Ross, National Co-ordinator for the Trust, was instrumental in setting up the Trust in 1996. On modest funding from the Ministry for the Environment, the Trust has supported many of the 300 landcare groups around New Zealand, with thousands of people now actively involved. All groups are community-based and voluntary.

The key focus of the Trust is sustainable land management.

Rural and land-based businesses need to be profitable, but they also need to sustainable, says Mr Ross.

The trust provides the structure for communities to take control of sensitive environmental issues, and to stimulate action, he says.

Mr Ross, as well as acting as National Co-ordinator, is the regional co-ordinator for the southern South Island. The trust employs another five regional co-ordinators around New Zealand. These people are highly trained facilitators, who stimulate interest in sustainable land management in an area, then bring together the various interest groups to form an organisation. From there, the community decides what issues are important, with help and input from the Landcare Trust, and develops an action plan.

Landcare groups involve all sorts of people and cover all sorts of issues. Groups are encouraged to set their own agendas, and to develop action plans. Groups are often set up to deal with a single issue, but frequently broaden their scope of activity with time.

The Landcare Trust also helps with the sourcing of funding and with networking, both between landcare groups and between the groups and local, regional, and central government representatives.

Seven organisations have input into the Trust, each providing a trustee to oversee the Trust's operations. Federated Farmers and Fish and Game were involved with setting up the Trust in 1996, and have been joined by Rural Women New Zealand, the Federation of Maori Authorities, the Ecological Foundation, Royal Forest and Bird, and Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand.

For more information, please contact: Don Ross 021 355-018


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