Greens push for $50m from Jobs for Nature fund to protect kauri forests

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The Green Party wants $50 million of the Jobs for Nature package to go towards protecting kauri forests.

Kauri trees

The Green Party wants $50m to go towards protecting kauri forests. Photo: RNZ/Dan Cook

Jobs for Nature is a $1.3 billion programme allocated in Budget 2020 to provide up to 11,000 jobs to improve, biodiversity, freshwater and biosecurity.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage made the announcement at Ōrātia in Auckland today.

Davidson said kauri are an important part of Aotearoa’s natural heritage, but without a political commitment to help protect them, they are facing potentially fatal threats from kauri dieback.

When our kauri suffer, the ecosystems that depend on them do too, she said.

“That’s why today, the Green Party is announcing we will focus part of the Jobs for Nature package towards kauri protection by dedicating $50 million over the next two years,” she said.

Davidson said the Greens would also push to see additional long term funding allocated in future budgets, depending on how much additional investment is needed.

Sage said the funding would be used to employ people within the Department of Conservation to work in partnership with iwi and alongside regional councils.

She said the money will enable the upgrade of tracks to protect kauri roots, and control pests such as pigs, which help spread kauri dieback.

The Ministry for Primary Industries has been unable to secure enough funding for a National Pest Management Plan for kauri.

“DOC would ensure that protection and work on kauri dieback gets the commitment and priority attention it deserves; instead of it being just one of the many biosecurity issues MPI is responsible for,” she said.

This move is likely to require changes to the Biosecurity Act, Sage said.

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