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Green light for Community Conservation Fund

24 September 2008

Green light for Community Conservation Fund

Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei, with the Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick, today launched the new Community Conservation fund, which provides $4 million dollars over the next two years for projects on public land.

The contestable funds secured by the Green Party in this year's budget will benefit community restoration projects that protect indigenous biodiversity on public land, including Maori reserves, Council and Crown lands.

"The Green Party recognises that community groups are doing vital restoration work on public land like dune-lands and urban waterways. These groups often need financial support for expert assistance, seedlings, tools and fencing, but often have difficulty accessing money for equipment or expertise," Mrs Turei says.

"The $4 million secured for the Community Conservation Fund will go to groups working in areas like native dune restoration. It's a little known fact that our native dune lands are a severely impacted ecosystem, on a par with native wetlands.

"Dune restoration can also serve as one of our primary defences against rising sea levels due to climate change. Studies show how natural dune ecosystems combat sand erosion and build the profile of the beach faster than the seal level rise predicted by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"This fund will also be available to fund projects on Maori reserve land that enhance biodiversity around marae, recreation grounds, waterways and reserves.

"In a time of increasing concern for food affordability, freshwater biodiversity restoration projects can help the ecosystems in which freshwater kaimoana like whitebait and eels also depend.

"These small and under-resourced projects are vital, especially as the natural environment comes under increasing pressures from industry, climate change and urbanisation. But equally because they engage and educate the community on the value and enjoyment of conservation activities.

"The Green Party is proud to be a voice for flax-root conservationists in Parliament, proud of our budget achievement that has created this fund, and grateful for the support of the Minister and the Government."


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