Government to give $3 million to Wānaka Jobs for Nature project

The government is giving $3 million to a Wānaka project under its jobs for nature scheme.

The funding will assist in improving freshwater quality and biodiversity, and create work for those who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19.

Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said the jobs would involve a mix of environmental work in the Upper Clutha area – such as riparian planting on farms, restoring wetlands, fencing and pest management – and projects to enhance biodiversity.

“The WAI Wānaka Jobs for Nature project will provide much-needed work for those who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19,” O’Connor said.

“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.”

A $3m funding agreement has been confirmed between WAI Wānaka (Upper Clutha Lakes Trust) and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

The funding formed part of the government’s Jobs for Nature programme, which created 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 was expected to deliver the training, plants, and equipment to implement extensive environmental activities, primarily on farms in the basin area.

New Zealand’s food and fibres sector would continue to be relied upon to help drive New Zealand’s export returns and boost our Covid-19 recovery efforts, O’Connor said.

“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 well-being,” he said.

“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 well-being. Supporting projects like this is delivering on our goals to clean up waterways and create employment opportunities in the regions.”

O’Connor made the announcement at the We Are One Reset Summit 2020, at the Lake Wānaka Event Centre on Friday evening.