Funding on way for 19 projects to enhance waterways

1:04 pm on 9 January 2021

Environment Minister David Parker says a $36 million funding round to clean up and protect waterways, will create more than 400 jobs.

Stream flowing through natural New Zealand bush and rocky environment along West Bank of Matakitaki River

The funding will support councils and landowners around the country, David Parker says. (file pic) Photo: 123RF

Nineteen projects are being launched during the second quarter of this year.

Parker said the initiative is part of the Jobs for Nature package that commits a billion dollars to improving the environment.

He believes the latest funding will make a difference.

"From the high-country slopes in Canterbury to sensitive wetlands in the Nelson region, rivers in Northland, Taranaki, Gisborne, Hawke's Bay and Otago - this funding will help our freshwater systems right across the country," Parker said.

Te Mana o Te Wai, the guiding principle of the recently released Essential Freshwater reforms, means protecting the life-supporting capacity of freshwater. It gives priority to the health of freshwater, then the needs of people and then commercial uses.

"The funding will support councils and landowners to implement the new freshwater regulations and give effect to Te Mana o Te Wai by supporting stock exclusion, fish passage remediation, the development and implementation of freshwater farm plans and sediment control activities like riparian planting," Parker said.

The government expects the newly announced projects to create 413 fulltime jobs over the next five years.

The funding comes from the Freshwater Improvement fund, which is part of the government's $1.2 billion Jobs for Nature package that aims to create significant environmental benefits and employ thousands of people in a bid to help the economy recover from the impact of Covid-19.

Parker said the package has already funded more than 100 projects and created 800 jobs.

"The projects announced today will build on the great work already happening across New Zealand."

Some of the biggest projects announced today include:

  • $2.5m to Ko Waitangi Te Awa Trust for a project to implement the Waitangi Management Plan
  • $1.2m to Colville Social Services Collective in Waikato to restore the waters of the Moehau region
  • $1.7m to Uretara Estate managers in Bay of Plenty for Project Parore
  • $1.7m to New Plymouth District Council in Taranaki for the Tangaroa Restoration project
  • $2.04m to Tukipo Catchment Care Group in Hawke's Bay of treating water quality issues in the Tukipo catchment
  • $2.1m to Pōrangahau Catchment Group for restoration of the Pōrangahau River
  • $3m to Tasman District Council to restore and create wetlands
  • $2.1m to Te Taumutu Rūnanga in Canterbury to restore part of the Te Waikēkēwai/ Waikēkēwai Stream
  • $4.1m to the Styx Living Laboratory Trust for community-led waterway restoration projects
  • $4.5m to Upper Taieri Wai to enhance water quality in the Upper Taieri Catchment

Announcement welcomed

A water protection group says the new programme will make a big difference in addressing the problem of polluted fresh waterways.

The director of Wai New Zealand, James Muir, said pollution of freshwater needs to be dealt with urgently.

"If we don't do something now, then we're going to be left with a much larger bill in the future for cleaning up our water.

"It's much better to have an ambulance at the top of the cliff and this is an attempt to do that."

He said the programme is more comprehensive than previous projects and he is also pleased that Te Mana o Te Wai principle is being put at the centre of some projects.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs