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Hawke's Bay Farms Get $4.1 Million Grant For Freshwater Improvement

A joint Government and Hawke's Bay Regional Council Jobs for Nature grant of $4.2 million will improve water quality and biodiversity of Hawke's Bay farms, while providing employment opportunities following COVID-19.

The Regional Council and central Government are contributing $2.1 million each towards the Hāpara Takatu Jobs for Nature project.

The project will fund 195 km of fencing of around Hawke’s Bay’s waterways to prevent contamination from livestock.

Regional Council Group Manager of Integrated Catchment Management Iain Maxwell says the project will provide employment opportunities for fencing contractors, particularly for those who have taken on new staff in the wake of COVID-19.

“We are thrilled to get this project underway, as it will have multiple benefits for our rural community. Fencing our waterways on a large scale is an important part of the process to prevent excessive nutrient levels and restore water quality.”

“We had a number of landowners who were in a position to commence works immediately, but were also prepared to go above and beyond the minimum requirements for stock exclusion from waterways.”

“We expect this project will spur on farmers to put in place riparian plantings, which help to filter sediments and nutrients before they enter waterways, prevent land erosion and increase the habitat for native wildlife,” he said.

By July 2022, at least 195km of fencing around waterways will be completed. The bulk of this is expected to be completed within the next six months.

The crown funding, administered by Ministry for the Environment, is part of the Government’s $1.3 billion Jobs for Nature programme, which is creating nature-based jobs to benefit the environment and support the economic recovery following COVID-19.

In July this year, the Government announced $162 million from the Jobs for Nature programme to 23 regional council sector projects, which are being supported by around $30 million of ratepayer funding.

Mr Maxwell said today’s announcement of further investment in the regional sector will compliment the existing work that regional councils already deliver, including sedimentation issues, pest and weed control, riparian planting, erosion mitigation, conservation, biosecurity, and large-scale planting.

The regional sector is committed to delivering Jobs for Nature projects, as much of it directly alights to the local government role as well as giving effect to the revised National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management, new National Environmental Standards for Freshwater and Resource Management Act s360 regulations for stock exclusion, he said.

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