You are wrong, if you thought the One Billion Trees trough had been emptied – but a renamed agency will dish up the remnants

One of the latest Beehive announcements augurs changes in the tree-planting, tree-growing and tree-harvesting business, another will help you change information recorded on your birth certificate and (it is reasonable to suppose) on your family tree.   

The first involves the forestry sector.  Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) will be renamed Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service and shift its operational headquarters from Wellington to Rotorua. 

The second involves public records.  The government is increasing support for New Zealanders wanting to change their sex marker on their birth certificates.

The statement on the forest service, from Forestry Minister Stuart Nash, served the useful purpose of reminding us about the One Billion Trees programme.  We hadn’t heard much about this, and the goal to have one billion more trees planted by 2028, since New Zealand First’s Shane Jones – remember when he was Minister of Regional Economic Development and of Forestry? – was given the heave-ho by the electorate last year.

Nash noted that in the past three years forestry policies prioritised regional economic development, by supporting extensive tree planting and job creation. Continue reading “You are wrong, if you thought the One Billion Trees trough had been emptied – but a renamed agency will dish up the remnants”

$1.69m goes to Maori landowners for tree planting (and the govt will be hoping for a harvest of votes)

The Government has made another pitch for the Maori vote (presumably with borrowed money) by dipping into the One Billion Trees trough.

It has proclaimed it is backing Maori landowners with this contribution to their wellbeing (and the environment’s) and it is fair to suppose it would appreciate the landowners backing it in return on election day.

Whether such backing might be  expressed in electoral support for Labour or New Zealand First is a matter for conjecture, but the announcement was made by Forestry Minister Shane Jones, a prominent and generous benefactor from the New Zealand First side of the coalition.

He announced up to $1.69 million will be provided through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their land more productive through the planting of forests, “both native and exotic”, and improve economic and environmental outcomes.

Around 1.5 million ha of land in New Zealand is in Māori ownership, Jones pointed out, but large tracts are returning little direct commercial value to Māori landowners, “nor much in the way of positive climate, soil, water or biodiversity outcomes”.

So what have the owners done to this land to rob it of positive climate, soil, water or biodiversity outcomes? Or did the land never generate much of those environmental benefits? Continue reading “$1.69m goes to Maori landowners for tree planting (and the govt will be hoping for a harvest of votes)”

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

Mangatu is “thriving” – but hey, Jones has got to invest our money somewhere so let’s give them a fillip anyway

Its businesses are “thriving”, according to the Mangatu Maori Incorporation website.

That was before Shane Jones’ arrival in the Gisborne region this week to distribute several million dollars of public money – among other recipients, to the thriving Mangatu Maori Incorporation.

He invited other Maori – sorry, he encouraged other Maori – to have a lick at the rich swill he is providing through the One Billion Trees Programme:

 ” … I am encouraging more Māori to come forward to partner with the Government through this initiative,” Shane Jones said.

The One Billion Trees Fund, launched in November 2018,  offers grants to landowners – particularly Māori and farmers – to encourage integration of trees into existing land use.

“It will create economic, social and environmental benefits and support Maori to realise the potential of their land.”

Having plenty of your own money should not be an impediment to applying, it seems.

The Mangatu incorporation’s website gives a measure of what “thriving” means.

The latest financial results we could find there were for the year to September 30 2017.

These show a net profit before tax of $13.9m (compared with $18.6m the previous year) and net assets of $193.6m (up from  $183m).
Continue reading “Mangatu is “thriving” – but hey, Jones has got to invest our money somewhere so let’s give them a fillip anyway”

If the eucalyptus crop doesn’t deliver, folks, don’t fret – Jones and the PGF or a tree fund may come to the rescue

Shane Jones might just as well be given the Maori Development portfolio, considering the money he dishes out for Maori developmental purposes.

The money comes from taxpayer-provided funds under his control as Minister of Forestry and of Regional Economic Development.

Distributing this is hard work, requiring him to dash around the provinces to make speeches to draw attention to his – and his government’s – beneficence.

He was in the Bay of Plenty early this week and then flew into Gisborne.

One of his announcements –  in the Bay of Plenty – suggests he is by no means wary of helping out when a previous venture has faltered.  He mentioned Crown Forestry investments in properties where eucalyptus crops “failed to realise an income for the landowners”.

Besides announcing new handouts, Jones enjoys reminding people of how their communities are benefitting from handouts previously announced.

While in the Gisborne region, for example, he gave an account of how funding from the $137 million Tairāwhiti roading package has been spent.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor registered these recent announcements:

8  JULY 2019

Māori realising land aspirations through the One Billion Trees programme

Forestry Minister Shane Jones says Crown Forestry will invest $5 million in two joint ventures that will result in 330 hectares of land converted to productive forests.

The first joint venture is 194 hectares owned by Pukahukiwi Kaokaoroa 2 Incorporation while a further 141 hectares is owned by Waipapa 2B2 Ahu Whenua Trust.

These properties included eucalyptus crops which failed to realise an income for the landowners.

“One of the core goals of the One Billion Trees Programme is supporting Māori to realise their land aspirations. This goes right to the heart of that.

“Not only will these partnerships create an income for the trusts through rental and a share of the profits at harvest, there is also potential to upskill workers to eventually take over management of the forest from the Crown.”

Up to 235,000 trees will be planted on these two properties this season, with land preparation now under way.

This brings Crown Forestry’s investment in the Bay of Plenty to $6.3 million and lifts the total number of joint ventures in New Zealand to 25, totalling over 15, 000 hectares.

8 JULY 2019

One Billion Trees supporting native seedlings research

Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced the One Billion Trees Programme is providing a funding boost of $422,500 for research – led by Scion in partnership with other Bay of Plenty organisations – to identify more effective native seedling propagation techniques and technology.

 “The aim is to understand what is and isn’t working and address those key issues including seedling survivability and how to create more efficient ways to produce good quality native seedlings.

“There’s also the potential to see a more environmentally friendly approach to seedling production through the use of paper wrap instead of the usual plastic wrap – reducing waste in the industry”.

Scion’s aim is to ensure its research into improving native seedling propagation is scalable and available to the industry at large, Jones said.

The project is led by Scion, working in partnership with Treeline Native Nursery, Minginui Nursery Ngati Whare Holdings, Te Tipu Wai Trust, Ellepot Denmark, Rotorua Lakes District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The research proposal has identified four key issues and opportunities to be developed further, these are:

  1. Slow production cycle for native trees
  2. Logistics and costs of seed collections
  3. Tree establishment and plant quality
  4. Nursery productivity

The key goals are:

  • To improve propagation techniques and technologies, demonstrate methods that are scalable within the nursery sector.
  • Share research findings available to the industry at large, including native plant and forestry nurseries, through published reports, talks and workshops delivered at Scion and through New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI).

 8 JULY 2019

PGF invests in game changing initiatives for the Bay of Plenty

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced the Provincial Growth Fund will invest in two pioneering business proposals.

Geo40 Limited will receive $15 million from the PGF, made up of a loan and convertible note, to build and operate a large scale extraction plant at the Ohaaki geothermal site near Taupo, while Eco Gas Limited Partnerships will receive a $7 million loan to build a demonstration biogas plant in Reporoa.

The technology developed by Geo40 is a world first that enables silica to be extracted from fluids that have been used to generate geothermal electricity, Jones said.  Once the silica is extracted, the geothermal water is returned to the reservoir.

The extracted silica will be exported for use in products overseas, such as paint, concrete and paper making.

Geo40 has already invested in the construction of a small commercial demonstration silica removal plant in Ohaaki. The new plant will be seven times bigger, with PGF funding going towards the plant’s commissioning and construction.

The extraction process may be extended to other geothermal plants.

Support for Eco Gas to build a full-scale demonstration biogas plant will result in energy, carbon dioxide and nutrients recovered from some of the 327,000 tonnes of food waste that goes to landfills each year in New Zealand.

Biogas plants are common overseas, particularly in Europe, but this will be the first waste-to-energy plant of this scale in New Zealand. The biogas produced can be used for fuel, and could help achieve our carbon emission targets.

If it proves commercially successful, it has the potential to act as catalyst for others being set up in regions nationwide, Jones said.

The proposed Reporoa Organic Waste Recovery Facility will be built on two hectares of land owned by T&G Global (formerly Turners and Growers), adjacent to their tomato glasshouse operation. T&G Global will buy the renewable energy from EcoGas and also supply its own organic wastes.

The facility will take more than 20,000 tonnes of organic food waste a year from major local food manufacturers such as dairy factories, commercial bakeries, cool stores, milk sheds and fruit grading facilities to convert into biogas.

“These initiatives are consistent with the Government’s plan to build our productivity, by embracing innovative projects which have significant potential to deliver both economic and environmental benefits. It’s great that the regions can be at the forefront of this,” Shane Jones said.

10 JULY 2019

PGF further supports Tairāwhiti’s economic growth

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced the Provincial Growth Fund is investing $27.1 million in addition to the $152 million already committed to the Tairawhiti region.

The investments will be in projects to support medical research, wood processing and social enterprise.

The three initiatives receiving funding today are:

  • Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence – $19.5 million
  • Matai Medical Research Institute – $6 million
  • Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust – $2 million

Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence

The Eastland Community Trust is set to receive its first funding instalment this month for the Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence. The Centre is being developed as a hub for wood processing, wood products, marketing and distribution, and training and research.

The first funding tranche will be for $5 million and will generate at least 30 full-time jobs.

The $19.5 million investment will lead to higher-value forestry products being produced and more money going back into the community via pay packets for local workers.

The PGF invested $500,000 to the centre in 2018 for its first stage of development.

Matai Medical Research Institute

Matai Medical Research Institute plans to establish a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) lab in Gisborne to get a better understanding of the brain, heart and body, with a focus on the fast-emerging field of traumatic brain injury.

The institute will bring up to 25 new jobs and economic stimulus to the region and undertake research with the potential to contribute to knowledge in the area of brain trauma and its effects on crime, unemployment and mental health.

The institute, to be located at Gisborne Hospital,  is committed to being based in Gisborne and has international interest and a desire from a number of international researchers to work with it.

Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust

Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust will receive up to $2 million to scale up and maximise its food harvesting and processing through the construction of a food processing facility to help get more long-term unemployed people into jobs.

The trust employs about 22 people in a variety of roles and provides pastoral care to keep people in work.  The funding will enable it to accelerate its training and place long-term unemployed people, or those not in education, employment or training into jobs and on the path to independence.

10 JULY 2019

PGF accelerates road upgrades in Tairāwhiti

Regional Economic Development Shane Jones said significant progress had been made on the delivery of the $137 million Tairāwhiti roading package, which was announced in September last year.

The Gisborne District Council data show 97 jobs have been created, thanks to the investment in roads.

Earlier this month he announced the start of work on the $4.5 million upgrade of Rakaiatane Rd – the access road to Gisborne’s port. The main part of this work is now complete with the two kilometre length of road now resealed.

The PGF has also funded the upgrade of roads in Gisborne’s inner city – the first major facelift of the city’s roads since 1999.

Work to resurface inner city roads is now complete after being enabled by PGF investment, which enabled the Gisborne District Council to rapidly scale-up this work.

Support from the PGF and the National Land Transport Fund has enabled the sealed part of Waimata Valley Rd to be extended by two kilometres, making it more resilient and reliable after previously experiencing regular washouts.

The PGF is also investing $3.3 million for heavy metalling projects across Gisborne’s road network; about $1 million worth of work has been completed.

Heavy metalling will be a huge improvement for logging operators who have in the past had to deal with large potholes and corrugates on roads.

The PGF has funded an additional 1800 tonnes of heavy metal which has been laid onto rural East Coast roads.

“The delivery of these roading projects shows the impact of the PGF – without which the scale and speed of delivery would not have been possible.  Local people can see and understand the impact of these investments, which are lifting pride and morale across the region,” Shane Jones said.

 10 JULY 2019

Provincial Growth Fund supports more full-time orchard jobs

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced the Provincial Growth Fund will help a Gisborne orchard expand its business and put hard-to-place unemployed into year-round permanent jobs.

The family-owned Riverland Fruit Company Limited will receive a $1.9 million commercial loan to expand its operation and a grant, over three years, of $1.663 million from the PGF-funded skills and employment programme, Te Ara Mahi. The funding will be used to take on 38 additional trainees.

Riverland has 12 trainees on its books, receiving on-the-job skills training and pastoral care. The PGF funding will accelerate this programme, allowing 38 trainees to be taken on. Riverland aims to continue to employ 36 of the trainees at the end of the course.

Jackson says Tairawhiti has an above- average rate of young people not in employment, education or training, as well as a persistent long-term unemployed population.

The training will includes study at the Eastland Institute of Technology (EIT), with a goal for participants to graduate with level 2 qualifications.



The Trough Monitor is alerted as more millions are poured into the Far North region

The announcement was made by Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis, whose Maori electorate happens to include the Kaikohe area which will benefit from the handouts.

He said the Provincial Growth Fund will invest $2.8 million “to further economic growth opportunities in tourism in the Mid-North and help lift the prosperity and well being of its communities”.

First, the PGF is investing $1.79 million to redevelop and enhance Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs, located near Kaikohe. Continue reading “The Trough Monitor is alerted as more millions are poured into the Far North region”

The Trough Monitor: oh, look – new ‘opportunities’ for tree planting grants

Another alert has been sounded by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, this time drawing attention to the establishment of yet another trough and a rich swill.

News of this trough was announced in a press statement from Forestry Minister Shane Jones – fast becoming the Lord High Bestower of Beehive Beneficence – and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

Today they launched the One Billion Trees Fund, describing it as a crucial step toward achieving the goal of planting at least one billion trees by 2028.

The headline on their press statement is telling:  One Billion Trees Fund offers new opportunities.

Dipping opportunities.

Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: oh, look – new ‘opportunities’ for tree planting grants”