Allan spends for the future, Little hires more advisers and Shaw sets out a time line for emissions reductions

The reassuring headline on a press statement from the Minister of Conservation said Projects create benefits into the future.

Ah – a forward-looking government, obviously.

The spending of $12,997,000 of public money on the projects listed in the press statement, accordingly, has been calculated to generate future benefits.  But come to think of it, in what other direction could the benefits be created?  Benefits into the past?

Elsewhere in the Beehive, Andrew Little was adding to the small army of advisors he is building within one of his portfolios.

He is adding four members to the outfit named Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques.

The group is made up of 32 members from across New Zealand, including affected family survivors and witnesses, representative communities, civil society, local government and the private sector.

Before long this group will be as big as the SIS workforce, we uncharitably mused at Point of Order, although a check with the SIS’s 2020 annual report showed this was somewhat fanciful: as of 30 June 2020 the NZSIS had 366.5 full time equivalent staff.

Little’s advisory team nevertheless is bigger than the Ardern Cabinet, which has 20 ministers.

“At the heart of this group is a commitment to honouring diversity of experience, and an acknowledgement of the strength that this collective diversity brings,” Andrew Little said.

“The appointment of these four additional members will augment this strength, by offering a broader pool of perspectives and experience.

“This will enable Kāpuia to continue to offer quality advice that is more representative of Aotearoa, New Zealand, to make it a safer and more inclusive country for everyone.”

The most important new announcement, however, came from the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw who confirmed that Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October.

It will require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget.

“Cabinet’s decision allows organisations and communities key to the Emissions Reduction Plan’s success to focus on getting through the worst of the COVID outbreak before engaging with the plan,” James Shaw said.

It should have been enough for Shaw to simply say next that we will all be invited to have an input.

But no – it is important in the Ardern government way of doing things to make special mention of some races and so he said:

“The plan will be developed with input from Iwi/Māori, Pacific communities, business, NGOs, local government, and communities all over the country. Notifying them now of our timeline for consultation gives them time to prepare the resources they need to engage fully.”

And then, more generally:

“It is only right to make sure everyone has the chance to contribute without the additional challenge of keeping people safe while the country is at different alert levels, especially those in Auckland who are still at level 4.

“It also allows the Government to align the final plan with Budget 2022, so people can see how its delivery will be supported through Government investment.”

The final Emissions Reduction Plan will set out the policies and strategies New Zealand will take to meet the country’s first ever emissions budget.

It will also set the direction for how future emissions budgets will be met, Shaw said.

 Latest from the Beehive

NZ economy’s strong momentum will support rebound from Delta outbreak; COVID fund replenished

The economy showed strong momentum in the period leading up to the recent Delta COVID-19 outbreak, which bodes well for a solid economic rebound, Grant Robertson said.

Projects create benefits into the future

Making a well-known lake swimmable and helping to halt the decline of the endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are among a suite of new projects being supported by the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme across the southern South Island, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.

New members appointed to Kāpuia

The Government is adding four additional members to Kāpuia, the Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques.

Timeline confirmed for Emissions Reductions Plan

Cabinet has agreed to begin consulting on the Emissions Reduction Plan in early October and require that the final plan be released by the end of May next year in line with the 2022 Budget, the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw confirmed today.

Pay parity pathway for early learning teachers confirmed

Pay parity conditions and higher funding rates for education and care services will come into force on 1 January, 2022, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins confirmed today.

Getting back to the wisdom of spending in the conservation domain for future benefits, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan said the projects she was announcing are:

Te Nukuroa o Matamata – Te Rūnaka o Ōtākou

Te Nukuroa o Matamata is a three-year project that aims to restore habitat and rejuvenate food gathering places in the lower Taieri Catchment.

Jobs for Nature funding ($5 million) will go towards employing and upskilling people to undertake weed and predator control, undertake riparian planting, establish a plant nursery, monitor water quality and manage native fish. This will create 19 full-time employment opportunities each year over the course of three years.

The Rehabilitation of Te Wai Whakaata – The Lake Hayes Catchment

An initiative aiming to make Lake Hayes swimmable again receives $4.45 million. Over three years, the project will work with other community groups to undertake native planting, wetland restoration, possum, rat and stoat control and installation of sediment traps. It is estimated that up to 25 people will be employed over three years.

Southern Lakes Sanctuary – project recipient: Southern Lakes Sanctuary Trust

$2.98 million will go towards a three-year project assisting more than 80 local predator control initiatives across 150,000ha of the Southern Lakes region to better protect 23 threatened and at-risk wildlife species from the invasive species of rats, possums, and mustelids.  It is estimated that up to 38 people will be employed over three years, comprised of a mixture of field workers, field team leaders, and technical support positions.

Te Tapu o Tāne project – Papatipu Rūnanka o Murihiku

Te Tapu o Tāne, a charitable company led by the four Papatipu Rūnanka o Murihiku, will get $2.125 million over three years to set up native tree and plant nurseries to support catchment rehabilitation within the takiwā of the Papatipu Rūnaka o Murihiku.

The project will employ and train up to nine full-time staff per year.

Bringing the Park to the People through Trail Enhancement

$973,000 will go towards noxious weed control, planting enhancement and predator control at the Upukerora River Delta to protect rare and threatened braided river bird species, and for the construction of part of the proposed Te Anau to Te Anau Downs Trail. This is estimated to employ approximately 50 people in part-time positions over a three-year period.

Tamatea Restoration Project – project recipient: Pure Salt Cruises

$700,000 has been allocated towards the use and development of new technologies to eliminate predators within Tamatea/Dusky Sound. A prototype to eliminate stoats will first be done on Mauikatau/Resolution, New Zealand’s seventh largest island, before being rolled out across the other 360 islands in the sound. It is estimated that three people will be employed over three years.

Increasing jobs in hoiho conservation  – Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust

$420,000 has been allocated towards halting the decline of hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins across coastal Otago and Southland, with the funding  being used to retain two roles – one full-time and one part-time, while also creating an additional full-time and part-time role over the next two years.

Routeburn-Dart Wildlife Trust Predator Trapping project

$416,000 is being invested in additional stoat, possum and feral cat control in the Routeburn, Dart and nearby valleys. This control work is estimated to employ six people across three years helping protect some of the country’s most vulnerable native species.

Big Bay Awarua Ecosystem Restoration Project – project recipient Big Bay Awarua Conservation Trust

$383,000 is available to establish a trapping network at Big Bay Awarua and Waiuna Lagoon to help protect vulnerable native birds such as fern birds, bittern, rail and kākā. It is estimated to employ up to nine people across three years.

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