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Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard

Question No. 4—Environment

4. BARBARA EDMONDS (Labour—Mana) to the Minister for the Environment: What announcements has the Government made about supporting the restoration of waterways?

Hon DAVID PARKER (Minister for the Environment): Today the Government announced a Jobs for Nature project in partnership with Porirua City Council, Ngāti Toa, and Sustainable Coastlines to restore the health of the Porirua Harbour. Porirua Harbour is the largest estuary in the lower North Island and once was plentiful with pipi, mussels, oyster, and tuna. I’ve just come back from the estuary. It is obvious that the tens of thousands of tonnes of sediment from road and subdivision earthworks and some agricultural practices are degrading the estuary. Remedial action is clearly needed, and I commend the efforts of the local community.

Barbara Edmonds: How will the Jobs for Nature project support employment and improved environmental outcomes in Porirua?

Hon DAVID PARKER: This is a long-term project. It will plant some 630,000 plants in many kilometres of riparian planting and fencing, as well as fund weed and pest control. An integral part of the programme is providing training and skills that improve capability. The funding will also support the Integrated Catchment Management Plan. Fine-scale LiDAR data for every stream and all parts of the harbour, enabled by the Provincial Growth Fund, is helping drive down costs for this project while also assisting developers in the community. Coupled with the training, this project is driving productivity upwards as well as improved environmental outcomes.

Barbara Edmonds: How is the Jobs for Nature programme tracking in its first 18 months?

Hon DAVID PARKER: Well, it’s having a significant impact on the environment and our communities over the last year and a half it’s been running. As of December 2021, the programme has funded over 380 projects, with more than 7,000 people employed. This progress is great to see. Across all these projects, over 4 million plants have gone into the ground, with many freshwater habitats being restored. It’s leveraging council, private sector, and community action to help clean up our environment and improve our waterways.