Local Government’s Regional Sector are welcoming an announcement today of over $162 million in central government funding for 23 regional and unitary council Jobs for Nature projects, saying the strong support is an endorsement of the return on investment councils can provide for both our economy and environment.
Jobs for Nature is a programme of work which seeks to address major environmental needs and create over 11,000 jobs to stimulate New Zealand’s post-Covid economy.
Regional Sector deputy chair and Nelson City Council Mayor Rachel Reese says the 22 projects have the potential to deliver huge environmental benefits, as well as create an estimated 500 jobs in the first year.
“We’re very pleased that the Government is supporting regional and unitary councils to undertake these vital projects which will improve freshwater quality, enhance native ecosystems and deliver major planting and pest management and restoration programmes.”
“This support shows the value that Regional Sector projects can offer New Zealand’s communities and environment.”
In late April, regional councils provided a list of 302 projects, with a total estimated funding requirement of approximately $2 billion. The successful projects 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.
“From addressing sedimentation issues, to pest and weed control, re-vegetation, riparian planting, erosion mitigation and even setting up a conservation cadets system, these projects address many environmental needs, while creating 500 jobs in the first year, and over 2,000 job opportunities across the lifetime of the projects.”
This funding injection provides a huge opportunity to accelerate work that the sector already delivers on a day to day basis, including progressing the objectives of freshwater management regulatory reforms.
“Regional and unitary councils are coming to the table with around $30 million for these projects, so there’s real community skin in the game here and the Government’s funding helps turn this local mahi into a reality.”
Integrated and sustainable land and ecosystem management or whole of catchment approaches delivered through partnership are the ideal model for delivering and scaling-up environmental enhancement projects. This approach has been a core part of how regional and unitary councils deliver on-ground action.
“Across New Zealand there are going to be a lot of happy people. Not just councils, but iwi, landowners, and a wide range of community groups who have been involved in developing these projects.”
$100 million in funding will go towards restoration of Northland’s Kaipara Harbour. The biggest harbour area in New Zealand, Kaipara Harbour is facing degradation from sedimentation and nutrient pollution. Using the funding, work will be undertaken to reduce the annual average sedimentation.
“The funding for these Regional Council projects is greatly needed across New Zealand and will go a long way to aiding our post-covid economic recovery.”