The Government is boosting legal protection for critically important natural habitats on private land, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says.
“An $8 million investment over four years will see Queen Elizabeth II National Trust Ngā Kairauhī Papa (QEII) work with government agencies, councils and others to provide legal protection of Jobs for Nature-funded projects through Open Space Covenants.
“That will ensure the biodiversity gains from the Crown’s investment in Jobs for Nature are protected and sustained on private land and allows QEII to legally protect hundreds of hectares of private land with high biodiversity value,” Kiri Allan said.
“Jobs for Nature is about protecting and enhancing our biodiversity as we recover from the impact of Covid-19 – this funding gives greater certainty that the effort being put into these projects is not wasted and the special biodiversity will remain for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.
“An example of this is the Hawkes Bay Regional Council’s Harare Takatū Jobs for Nature project where four kilometres of fencing has been erected to keep feral deer and other animals from feeding on native plants in a 90-hectare wetland, which will now be protected in perpetuity by a QEII Open Space Covenant.”
An Open Space Covenant is an agreement between QEII and a landowner to protect an area forever. The landowner continues to own and manage the protected land, and the covenant and protection stays on the land, even when the property is sold to a new owner. QEII drafts the legal documents, pays for survey costs and shares the cost of fencing with the landowner, often alongside a contribution from another agency like the regional council.
“A new form of legal protection, at this stage called a restoration agreement, will also be developed for Jobs for Nature projects that do not have strong enough existing biodiversity values to meet the Open Space Covenant criteria. Such an agreement may be more suitable for native revegetation or wetland restoration projects.
“QEII will work in partnership with local councils, government agencies and other groups to identify areas suitable for protection under either an Open Space Covenant or a restoration agreement,” Kiri Allan said.