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New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways

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A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today.

The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme to halt degradation of the Kaipara harbour receiving $100 million.

The projects are funded from the $1.1 billion Jobs for Nature package in the 2020 Budget that will create a total of 11,000 environment jobs in our regions in response to Covid-19. $433 million of that fund has been allocated to regional environmental projects such as these.

“We are stepping up the pace of getting New Zealanders into work in the wake of Covid-19. These 23 projects will deliver over 2000 jobs across the country that also help to deliver the Government’s goal of cleaning up our waterways,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“These projects will help restore wetlands, rivers and streams, regenerate native bush and control pests and weeds while creating much needed jobs in the regions.

“Many of these jobs do not require extensive training for new workers, so they are good to go. Previous jobs for nature projects have matched workers displaced from the tourism sector and the same can happen here.

“‘People visit New Zealand and buy our produce because of our clean green image; it’s how we market ourselves to the world so we need to protect it.

“Clean water is crucial to our environmental and economic reputations. The Government’s economic plan in response to Covid is focused on creating work in areas that enhance our reputation so we can maximise our trade and tourism assets,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“The initiatives include $11.2m towards restoring Lake Horowhenua wetlands and $9m towards Mahurangi East River and land restoration projects,” David Parker said.

“Together the 22 projects and the Kaipara programme will create an estimated 500 jobs within the first year and over 2000 jobs over the lifetime of the projects and provide significant environmental benefits.

“These 22 projects were selected because they deliver clear and immediate job creation, significant environmental outcomes, regional spread, and because of engagement in them by iwi and community groups.

“The projects were chosen from a list of more than 300 projects submitted by regional councils.

“An expert panel from Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation and Ministry for Primary Industries assessed the projects,” David Parker said.

Questions and answers

Where does the $162 million come from?

The $162 million is a draw down from the Vote Environment contingency of $433 million, allocated through Budget 2020.

What is Jobs for Nature programme?

The Jobs for Nature programme involves Ministers responsible for environmentally-focused COVID-19 recovery funding - $1.3 billion in total including $1.1 billion from Budget 2020 and $200 million from the Provincial Growth Fund - adopting a shared approach to assurance and oversight of that funding. The Ministers involved are the Minister for the Environment, the Minister of Local Government, the Minister of Agriculture/Biosecurity, the Minister of Regional Economic Development/Forestry, the Minister for Climate Change, and the Minister of Conservation/Land Information.

The Ministers are supported by a Reference Group comprising a mix of central government and non-central government members, plus an independent chair. The Reference Group has oversight and assurance of the whole programme, including programme-level monitoring, reporting, coordination and communication.

What are the 22 Council-led projects?

See attached.

How were these projects assessed?

In late April, regional councils provided a list of 302 projects, with a total estimated funding requirement of approximately $2 billion.

All of these projects were assessed by an expert panel from Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation and Ministry for Primary Industries. They were selected because they demonstrate clear and immediate job creation, significant environmental outcomes, Iwi and community engagement and/or partnership as well as regional spread.

What is the issue with Kaipara Harbour?

Kaipara is a large and biologically significant harbour. It is New Zealand’s largest estuarine ecosystem and is the receiving environment of a 640,000ha catchment with many inflowing rivers encompassing a large proportion of the northern peninsula of the North Island. It extends across the Auckland and Northland regions.

Estuaries provide a range of valuable high ecosystem services (e.g. fisheries, water quality, climate change mitigation) as well as biodiversity values. The Kaipara contains some of the rarest ecosystems in New Zealand namely sand dune, seagrass, freshwater and estuarine wetland ecosystems.

The Kaipara Harbour provides important juvenile habitat for white sharks and snapper. It contains nationally significant seagrass meadows, is a regular orca foraging area as well as being a nationally and internationally significant wading bird habitat including for the critically endangered Fairy Tern.

In August 2019, the Kaipara catchment was announced (by PM) as the first of the Government’s ‘exemplar’ catchments. The purpose of the exemplar catchments is to deliver action and learn more about what works on the ground, develop partnerships, all the while, continuing to build national-level information. The second exemplar catchment announced was Te Hoiere/Pelorus in Marlborough, with more to be announced.

Due to the size and scale of the catchment and the interventions needed, the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme requires significant Crown investment above what could be provided through the $12m made available to exemplar catchment.

The Kaipara Moana Remediation will create over 1000 jobs over a six-year period.

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