INDEPENDENT NEWS

Feds Heartened By QEII Funding Boost

Published: Wed 4 Aug 2021 10:13 AM
Federated Farmers is relieved to see the government put more money towards the Queen Elizabeth II Trust, to help landowner endeavours to protect and enhance areas of special native biodiversity on privately owned land.
Conservation Minister Kiri Allan has pledged $8 million to go to the Jobs for Nature programme. This should allow the QEII Trust to increase the number of sites protected by covenants by 264 during the next four years.
Federated Farmers board member and environment spokesperson Chris Allen says Feds has been asking for more help for the Trust for years, and the extra funding is very welcome.
More than 4600 unbreakable covenants have been established since 1977, covering 180,000 hectares of private land.
Willingness of landowners to voluntarily covenant and protect privately owned properties has long exceeded the ability for QEII to meet demand.
"This is sound investment and partnership by the government. QEII is an entity trusted and respected by farmers, and although the covenants involve protection of special sites in perpetuity it remains a voluntary initiative. It’s up landowners to decide if applying to the Trust provides the best opportunities for their land," Chris says.
"Biodiversity, climate change and water quality are integrated issues, and funding to help incentivise native planting and protection can provide multi-faceted solutions."
Placing a covenant on a piece of land essentially protects it forever. Having additional Jobs for Nature assistance will enable greater restoration opportunities for privately owned land with high biodiversity.
"We remind government that this is a great first step, but more incentives and support will be needed if they truly want New Zealand to meet its biodiversity objectives, given the high costs associated with that active management and protection - including fencing and pest/weed control."
Federated Farmers hopes the government doesn’t just see this as a four-year project, and that it will remain committed to helping landowners maintain special biodiversity areas on privately owned land, for the good of the entire community.

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