OPINION: For as long as MMP has existed, we in the provinces have played along to our detriment.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced the package over the weekend.
Of the $162 million dollar package, $100 million will go towards the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme to halt degradation of the Kaipara harbour. The remaining $62 million will be spent on 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils.
The projects are funded from the $1.1 billion Jobs for Nature package announced in the 2020 Budget. $433 million of that fund has been allocated to regional environmental projects such as these.
“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,” said Ardern.
“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.
Ardern says New Zealand’s “clean green image” must be protected as it is how products and tourism are marketed.
The initiatives include $11.2 million towards restoring Lake Horowhenua wetlands and $9 million towards Mahurangi East River and land restoration projects, said Parker.
“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.”
Parker says the projects were chosen from a list of more than 300 submitted by regional councils.
Projects were chosen by a panel of people from the Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation, and Ministry for Primary Industries.