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Biodiversity Funding Welcome Recognition

Federated Farmers of New Zealand (Inc) today described the Government's $37m funding boost for conservation on private land as welcome recognition that protected land needs active pest management.

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.

"The funding at last recognises that if we want to conserve biodiversity, then biodiversity resources, such as native bush, need active management, not just a set of rules blocking development. Pests and weeds must be controlled as well, and this funding will help that work," said President Alistair Polson.

"Restrictions on land use have not stopped a decline in conservation values. Possums, goats and deer must be controlled if native plants, and the wildlife they support, are to return."

Mr Polson saw the extra funding as wider New Zealand's conservation values being reflected in the Government's priorities. "Up to now, there has been a trend to support rules and restrictions, and no willingness to pay for the upkeep of the conserved land. That has altered today."

"The excellent work of the Queen Elizabeth II Trust has been acknowledged by this funding announcement, and the amount of land it can covenant will increase significantly. There are over 16,000 hectares waiting to be protected."

The federation wants to be part of the group developing the criteria for selecting where and what type of protection will be funded.

ENDS

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