Jones (carrying our money) has gone south to enthuse about a rail investment and to seed more tree planting

Moneybags Minister Shane Jones has gone south to dish out more money for tree planting in Canterbury after visiting Greymouth to give an accounting of the goodies being generated by money invested on the West Coast. Southlanders will be blessed with the Munificent Marvel’s presence tomorrow.

West Coasters might have been disappointed that he essentially did no more than bandy numbers to justify the wisdom of a Provincial Growth Fund investment in TransAlpine, announced last November.

You could say he has been counting their blessings and visited Greymouth to let the locals know the good news.

But hey – it’s just over a fortnight since he visited the West Coast as Minister of Forestry to announce more than 70,000 native trees are to be planted over the next three years to help restore the Waimea Inlet.

More than $1 million was committed to the project, the money coming from the $240m grants and partnership fund as part of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme.

Jones was wearing his Forestry hat when he travelled to Canterbury (did he go by train?) to provide support for  native planting and restoration projects from the One Billion Trees Fund.

Here’s what we learn from the Point of Order Trough Monitor

Wheels in motion for PGF’s TranzAlpine investment

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the Provincial Growth Fund’s investment in upgrading KiwiRail’s TranzAlpine rail experience is making strong progress.

 KiwiRail expects the increased passenger capacity and upgraded services they can provide using the PGF’s investment will bring another 37,000 passengers to the West Coast annually by 2027, he said.

Passenger spending is forecast to double to $80.3 million by that date and – by then – the service is expected to support 290 jobs on the West Coast.

Work will start on the Greymouth platform upgrade in November and be completed in early 2020.  KiwiRail is also expecting to issue requests for proposals for the premium carriages for the TranzAlpine and the Coastal Pacific “within coming weeks”. The new premium service will be unveiled at the annual tourism trade show TRENZ next year.

All of the upgrades funded by the PGF investment are expected to be operational in 2022.

KiwiRail, with the support of the PGF investment, is also looking at the feasibility of a Hokitika to Westport scenic rail service. They expect the results from that study later this year.  If viable, this will be another option for the economic development of this region, Jones said.


One Billion Trees Fund supporting indigenous restoration in Canterbury

Two native planting and restoration projects in Canterbury have received support from the One Billion Trees Fund.

The projects include a 20-hectare native regeneration project on the Banks Peninsula and a restoration ambassador role led by the University of Canterbury, Forestry Minister Shane Jones said.

The One Billion Trees Fund offers direct grants for planting and regeneration projects as well as partnership funding for projects that aim to reduce the barriers to tree planting.

The owners of Waipuna Bush on the Banks Peninsula purchased the 74 hectare property specifically to protect and enhance the natural environment, Jones said.

The area is a site of ecological significance and a recommended area for protection and has a conservation covenant over the entire property.

“We will see significant biodiversity and environmental benefits, including erosion control, as a result of the passion of the landowners and their dedication to this area and I am pleased that, with support from the Fund, they will be able to further protect this important area.”

Partnership funding for $98,875 has also been approved for a native restoration ambassador, led by the University of Canterbury’s School of Forestry.

The aim of the native restoration ambassador will be to provide free, independent advice to farmers, community groups and iwi about how to conserve native biodiversity on their land, Jones said.

The two restoration initiatives announced today build on the $1.1 million committed toward restoration planting of Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere in 2018 and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to the 2/3rds native target for the One Billion Trees Fund.

 Waipuna Bush

$21,185 from the One Billion Trees Fund will support further regeneration of areas within Waipuna Bush.

Around 3 hectares of the total 19.74 hectares to be regenerated is erosion prone land.

The owners of Waipuna Bush purchased the 74 ha property on Banks Peninsula in 2012, for the specific purpose of protecting and enhancing the natural environment of the land.

They have placed a conservation covenant over the entire property through the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, the goals of which are to protect and enhance the natural character, with particular regard for the indigenous flora and fauna.

It is also part of a Site of Ecological Significance and Recommended Area for Protection as it contains rare and representative indigenous vegetation ecologies.

The property is a mixture of original and regenerating forest and grassland.

The 74 ha Waipuna Bush covenant is fenced to exclude stock, and actively managed for conservation by the landowners.

Restoration Ambassador

Up to $98,875 has been awarded to support the Restoration Ambassador Project led by the University of Canterbury, through until 2020.

Partnerships through the One Billion Trees Fund requires co-funding with the University of Canterbury contributing $14,000.

The goal is to provide impartial, expert advice to farmers, community groups and iwi to help them restore native biodiversity on their own terms.

University of Canterbury’s Professor David Norton is the driving force behind the role.

The successful Restoration Ambassador will initially focus on areas that have limited availability of expert restoration advice such as Gisborne and East Coast, and will focus on providing this information for Māori landowners.

The project will create a strategic relationship with the School of Forestry, leading to robust native planting decisions under 1BT.

The goals of this partnership are to:

  • Create a strategic link between the School of Forestry and Te Uru Rākau
  • Provide access to the School of Forestry’s restoration expertise to actual and potential applicants of the 1BT fund in areas with limited access to such advice.
  • Develop robust and successful restoration applications under 1BT.

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