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Protecting Biodiversity On Private Land


BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY FUNDING - PROTECTING BIODIVERSITY ON PRIVATE LAND
Thursday 8 June 2000


The Government will spend an extra $37 million on increasing the funds available to protect and maintain biodiversity on private land through the Nature Heritage Fund, Nga Whenua Rahui and the QEII National Trust. This funding is part of a comprehensive five-year package involving conservation, environment, fisheries and biosecurity, confirmed in this year's Budget to support the Government's Biodiversity Strategy. It links to the strategy's goal to halt the decline in New Zealand's biodiversity and will also support the government's strategic goal of protecting and enhancing the environment.

The project

Increasing the Nature Heritage Fund (previously the Forest Heritage Fund), Nga Whenua Rahui and the QEII National Trust will help protect critically scarce habitats and native species, and will help improve the representation of the full range of natural habitats.
The funding will restore the Nature Heritage Fund and Nga Whenua Rahui to previous levels, replacing funds that were used to purchase cutting rights at Waitutu and Lords River in Southland, and then progressively increase funding levels in later years. The new funding will also help these two funds deal with an increase in applications for non-forest ecosystems. The increase will also allow the QEII National Trust to respond to offers to covenant high priority areas on private land.
Some of the new funding has been tagged for improving the condition of biodiversity on private land. This funding will be used to focus on maintaining and restoring biodiversity through ongoing pest and weed management - as opposed to just achieving legal protection for the land through purchase or covenant.
In the first year, a suitable administrative mechanism will be designed, based on the existing funding bodies, for allocating funding for improving condition on private land. The Nature Heritage Fund, Nga Whenua Rahui and local government will need to be involved in this process.

Under threat

The Nature Heritage Fund and Nga Whenua Rahui have protected more than 235,000 hectares of native habitats and ecosystems through acquisitions, covenants, kawenata or Maori reservations. Much of this land would have otherwise been logged, cleared or further browsed. These funds have previously not covered ongoing work to maintain or enhance the protected areas, which is where some of this new funding will step in. This proposal recognises that while some pest control provides little benefit to individuals, it can provide significant national value for biodiversity.
The QEII National Trust has covenanted 60,000 hectares. It works closely with rural landowners and focuses exclusively on covenanting land where ownership remains with the landowner.

Actions

The increased funding means further applications to the Nature Heritage Fund, Nga Whenua Rahui and QEII National Trust can be processed. There are 25 key cases covering 56,000 hectares valued at $7.3 million that are priority purchases.
In year one, criteria will be developed for funding work to improve the condition of biodiversity on private land. From year two, funding will be available for pest management at priority sites.

Community partnerships

The increased funding for Nature Heritage, Nga Whenua Rahui and the QEII National Trust will build on the already successful partnerships that are developing between the funds, Department of Conservation, regional councils, tangata whenua, farmers, other landowners and conservation groups who have worked together to protect special natural areas. The increased funding for ongoing condition management will also encourage closer working relationships with regional councils.

Funding package details

All figures in $m, GST inclusive.

2000/01 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 Total
$2.215 $3.390 $6.655 $10.844 $13.938 $37.042

For further information, please refer to http://www.biodiv.govt.nz


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