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Budget funds to combat hill country erosion

Hon Jim Anderton

Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity
Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry
Associate Minister of Health
Associate Minister for Tertiary Education

Progressive Leader

11 May 2007 Media statement

Budget funds to combat hill country erosion

Budget 2007 has set aside $10 million over the next four years to fund a Sustainable Land Management (Hill Country Erosion) Framework, Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton announced today.

"Reducing the vulnerability of the rural sector, and communities located on flood plains, to extreme rainfall events is a major priority for the Labour-Progressive Government. This funding will allow us to support regional initiatives that target the most erosion-prone land," he said.

Speaking at the "Wise Use of Nitrogen on Hill Country" Conference in Palmerston North, Jim Anderton said "New Zealand has a massive erosion problem in some areas and for our agricultural production to be truly sustainable we need to arrest this erosion. Hill country erosion has been estimated as a $100-150 million per year problem through the loss of soil and nutrients, loss of production, damage to houses, fences, roads, phone and power lines, damage to waterways and aquatic habitat. It also has a huge social cost to the communities affected. But treating erosion-prone land can reduce the level of damage within a catchment by up to 90 percent."

The Sustainable Land Management Framework will part-fund regional initiatives to work with hill country farmers to treat erosion and work in conjunction with incentives to promote afforestation, in order to deal with problems which are anticipated to arise from climate change. "The Framework will give priority to proposals which achieve the greatest gains in treating land, reducing sediment flow and protecting lower catchment communities," Jim Anderton said.

Later this year the Government will also be announcing a comprehensive package of climate change initiatives. "This package will include a further incentive for planting in erosion-prone catchments. And afforestation grant schemes will provide councils and their ratepayers with financial support to target critical, priority catchments.

"Along with the East Coast Forestry project which has $6.5 million available each year for planting erosion-prone areas, these initiatives provide a range of tools that can be used to develop locally-appropriate work programmes.

“With climate change and expected increases in extreme weather events we can expect more pressure on erosion-prone country. This funding is part of the Labour-Progressive Government’s sustainability agenda aimed at the economic transformation of our agriculture sector into the most sustainable primary production system in the world,” Jim Anderton said.


ENDS

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