The Government is throwing its support behind an ambitious project to restore native biodiversity and build long-term conservation careers, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.
Predator Free Bay of Islands aims to eradicate predators from the three main peninsulas in the region, and significantly reduce their impact throughout the wider 80,000-plus hectare Bay of Islands area.
“A $4 million investment through Jobs for Nature (Mahi mō te Taiao) will enable Predator Free 2050 Ltd to help iwi, hapū, landowners and community groups progress their vision of a predator free Taitokerau,” Kiri Allan said.
The project has a budget of $15m through contributions from community conservation groups, iwi/hapū, Northland Regional Council, Kiwis for Kiwi, and Kiwi Coast Trust.
Around 15 jobs are expected to be created when the five-year project is fully operational.
Northland Regional Council is leading the project, building on existing pest control programmes across Purerua Peninsula (about 7600ha), Russell Peninsula (3000ha) and Cape Brett/Rākaumangamanga (3000ha).
Work will begin shortly on community engagement, feasibility studies and operational planning. “This project is one of 16 now supported by Predator Free 2050 Limited, a Crown-owned company set up to invest in landscape scale projects and breakthrough-focussed research.
“Each involves a unique combination of landscape, cultural, community and ecological factors, creating tangible and long term social and economic benefits for all New Zealanders,” Kiri Allan said.
Northland MP Willow-Jean Prime said it was great to see the Government providing further financial support to conservation initiatives in the region.
“This builds on the fantastic work they are already doing to eradicate pests and protect our biodiversity in the beautiful Bay of Islands.
“I want to acknowledge all those involved in this project for the vision and passion to protect our taiao. It is fantastic to see that this project will employ up to 15 people to do this important work.”