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Jobs For Nature Provides Employment Buffer

Work to stop invasive weeds spreading into one of Aotearoa’s most loved national parks is the goal of a new Jobs for Nature project announced by Conservation Minister Kiri Allan today.

Fiordland National Park’s boundary will get a boost against invasive weeds with up to 26 part-time positions available to people in the Te Anau and Southland area, hard hit by the tourism downturn of COVID-19.

Kiri Allan says that it is great to have Jobs for Nature work programmes in Southland starting to come online.

“The Te Anau area has had a doubly challenging year after the February floods temporarily disrupted recreation-based tourism and then COVID-19.

“These jobs will help keep workers in the region by topping up their regular employment or providing part time work to some unemployed people. The work - helping to protect one of New Zealand’s most beautiful spaces is important but difficult mahi,” Kiri Allan says.

Following the successful project application put forward by Environment Southland, the Southern South Island Alliance have allocated $345,000 Jobs for Nature funding annually to the Fiordland Buffer Zone project, providing 12 FTEs (full time equivalent) across the two-year life of the project.

The Buffer Zone project will focus on controlling weeds such as Darwin’s Barberry and Cotoneaster along the 60km boundary line from Manapouri to Te Anau Downs, essentially creating a 1km buffer zone across DOC and Crown land.

The work is highly labour intensive and is best done by teams moving through the bush, cutting stems and applying herbicide gel as they go.

“This is the first project approved through the Southern South Island Alliance and will run over two summers. I look forward to more opportunities being announced as they become available,” Kiri Allan said.

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