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Budget 2005: $2m for Hauraki Is conservation work

Budget 2005: $2m for conservation work on seven Hauraki islands

Important conservation projects on seven Hauraki Gulf islands are planned as part of a $2 million investment provided for in this year's Budget, Prime Minister Helen Clark and Conservation Minister Chris Carter announced today.

Project Hauraki is designed to raise the profile of the Hauraki Gulf as a visitor destination and centre of island conservation. It will be funded in Budget 2005, with new funding over four years of $1.4 million (excluding GST) and $660,000 reprioritised from within the Conservation Department budget.

This follows the $10.5 million purchase and protection of Kaikoura Island last year. Helen Clark formally opens Kaikoura Island for the public today.

"Located alongside our largest city, the Hauraki Gulf is a spectacular playground for New Zealanders and international visitors alike. It is a key part of the image the Auckland region projects to the world," Helen Clark said.

"As the purchase of Kaikoura Island demonstrated, the Labour-Progressive government has been prepared to invest in the acquisition of key properties for the conservation estate. Project Hauraki underscores that commitment to conservation. It will have a tangible effect, not only on the restoration of Kaikoura Island, but on six other islands as well."

Project Hauraki will see new initiatives for pest eradication, track development, signage, and interpretation on Kaikoura, Waiheke, Motuihe, Motutapu, Rangitoto, Rakitu, and Great Barrier Islands. In addition, money will also go towards promoting greater awareness of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Conservation Minister Chris Carter said Project Hauraki was designed to complement the work done on island restoration by numerous community trusts.

"Aucklanders love the Gulf. They turn out time and again to look after it. Project Hauraki is further evidence that the government is committed to working with the community trusts which care for the Gulf Islands."

Background notes:

Examples of work to be funded as part of Project Hauraki:

Kaikoura Island: basic track network, remove fallow deer to help ecological restoration;

Motutapu Island: signage and interpretation, walking tracks, pest eradication;

Rangitoto Island: signage and interpretation, pest eradication;

Motuihe Island: signage and interpretation, walking tracks, viewing areas, and funding to support community work;

Waiheke Island: Te Matuku Bay Marine Reserve signage and interpretation;

Rakitu Island: feasibility study for pest eradication;

Great Barrier Island: feasibility study for the Paparahi “mainland island” project - intensive pest control at the northern end of the island;

North Head: signage and interpretation.

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