Wanaka Project receives $3 million to boost local environmental efforts
A Wanaka project will get $3 million to deliver improvements in freshwater quality and biodiversity, and provide jobs, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.
“The WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature project will provide much-needed work for those who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19,” said Mr O’Connor. “These jobs will involve a mix of environmental work, focused on farm properties in the upper Clutha area, such as riparian planting, restoring wetlands, fencing, pest management, and projects to enhance biodiversity.
“In a region greatly affected by COVID-19, it’s fantastic to get in behind the WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature project. This project will build on the work farmers are already doing to improve the health of their land and water.” Mr O’Connor said a $3 million funding agreement has been confirmed between WAI Wanaka (Upper Clutha Lakes Trust) and the Ministry for Primary Industries. The funding is part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, which is creating nature-based jobs to benefit the environment and support the economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over three years, the WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature project is expected to deliver the training, plants, and equipment needed to implement extensive environmental activities, primarily on farms in the basin area.
Mr O’Connor says New Zealand’s food and fibres sector will continue to be relied upon to help drive New Zealand’s export returns and boost our COVID-19 recovery efforts. “Taking greater action to improve environmental outcomes is essential for New Zealand to generate substantial economic and environmental benefits, and to boost human and cultural wellbeing,” said Mr O’Connor.
“These are at the heart of the Fit for a Better World vision launched by the Primary Sector Council last year, and the Government’s Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential Roadmap. “Consumers globally are increasingly seeking immune-boosting, healthy and sustainable products.
The WAI Wānaka – Jobs for Nature project is one example of work going on around the country with a focus on lifting environmental and economic outcomes and boosting wellbeing.
Supporting projects like this is delivering on our goals to clean up waterways and create employment opportunities in the regions.” Minister O’Connor made the announcement at the We Are One Reset Summit 2020, at the Lake Wanaka Event Centre on Friday evening (30 October).
The WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature project builds on work already established by WAI Wānaka, including the Wānaka Water Project which has completed an Integrated Catchment Management Plan, the ‘Community Catchment Plan‘ for the Upper Clutha. (This project was funded by Ministry for the Environment, Otago Regional Council, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Sargood Bequest and Sustainable Business Network/Million Metres)
Funding for the WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature project was approved by the Ministry of Primary Industries on 14 October.
The WAI Wanaka J4N project will be carried out in three phases:
- A first phase is already underway with funding from other sources, employing 14 workers for eight weeks, undertaking initial tree planting and site maintenance work.
- Phase Two: Increasing outreach of the programme, additional environmental activities, and creation of a project management team and work plan, with around 23 employees. (October 2020 – February 2021).
- Phase Three: Ongoing work and a further 9 jobs with a mix of full and part-time roles, enabling workers to maintain their links with other employers such as local businesses operating at reduced levels (ongoing until 2023).
WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature environmental work will be primarily carried out on farming properties across the Cardrona, Luggate Creek, Lake Hāwea, Hāwea Flat, and Maungawera catchments. Farmers have been working with the WAI Wānaka Trust to establish individual and community catchment plans.
Links for further information:
- WAI Wānaka’s Jobs for Nature programme
- Jobs for Nature – Ministry for the Environment
- Catchment group projects: Jobs for Nature funding programme