10/13/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/12/2022 13:48
Community and iwi-led projects funded by the Department of Conservation's Jobs For Nature programme have supercharged conservation efforts across the country, Minister of Conservation Poto Williams announced today.
"Since the programme began in July 2020, more than 2000km of tracks have been maintained - more than the length of SH1. Seven thousand hectares of riparian planting protecting New Zealand's waterways has been completed, which is equivalent to 7000 rugby fields, and 56,000 hectares of weeding has taken place. That's an area larger than Wellington," Poto Williams said.
Across all 218 projects combined, people have worked 2.5 million hours. More than 1000 people have either completed or are currently undergoing further training in conservation, Poto Williams said.
"Jobs for Nature was created to provide nature-based employment in the face of COVID-19. Since then, 4000 people have benefitted from this programme through fulltime, part-time or casual work, keeping people in communities while the hardest-hit industries, such as tourism, recover. With around 1000 people choosing to undertake further training and upskilling in conservation work from there, DOC's Jobs for Nature programme has helped create an enduring conservation legacy."
Jobs for Nature was established in June 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.219 billion government programme was designed to provide nature-based employment and benefit New Zealand's environment, people and regional communities. DOC was allocated $488 million to fund projects undertaking pest control, riparian fencing and planting, threatened species protection, habitat restoration and restoring wetlands, rivers and streams.
"Jobs for Nature provides an opportunity for the Government to work together with Māori, local government, community groups, and the private sector to develop a long-term strategy for investment in nature.
"The mix of short-term projects that have already wrapped up to longer term projects funded through to 2024, means the programme has been agile in responding to different community needs.
"With so much achieved for communities and the environment at the programme's halfway point, it's exciting to think how much more can be achieved over the programme's lifetime."