I’d like to give a shoutout to Minister Eugenie Sage for securing some solid funding increases for her Conservation portfolio.
The first is in baseline funding from this years’ 2019 Budget, of $76 million. It’s got a particular focus on saving animals. This funding was first proposed in 2018 but awaited the business case.
So as a result we will see better protection of 70% of the top 850 ecosystem sites. That’s up from 17%. We’re also going to see a lot more priority freshwater catchments actively managed.
There’s also a doubling of the advocacy work for DoC. Hopefully this doesn’t mean advocacy straight to Thompson Clark to surveil every activist they don’t take a shine to.
Ideally DoC should do better actual protection of our wild areas than Forest and Bird does. At the moment IMHO, it doesn’t and carries a woeful record of doing the government’s bidding to ruin and trade our forest away, as in the Ruataniwha Dam debacle, and other instances.
We also get an additional six islands protected from predator incursions.
But wait there’s more. In an announcement with Shane Jones a couple of weeks ago, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is making a $19.5 million investment to expand predator control with better techniques. In part that means once you’ve cleared an area, find ways to keep them down and out without using 1080. I’ll be damned if I can find any increase in jobs for the regions within this $19.5m, but who cares if you’re trying to save what is left of natural New Zealand.
Great work Minister Sage and DoC staff for doing the hard yards and securing the money. I think I have had a crack or two at you recently for not delivering the goods. This is delivery.
While I’m at it, however, this government has achieved very little expansion of the DoC estate. Why not work with your colleague the Minister of Land Information to translate that High Country Leases work into a proper reward for New Zealand in an actual high country National Park. Oh whoops, that’s the same person.
Since they proposed it, the members of the Federated Mountain Clubs of New Zealand and Forest and Bird would welcome some actual expansion of the DoC National Park estate, rather than wasteful low-reward-high-damage farming. Every Labour-led government generates a new national park (the previous National government didn’t), and it’s time to put big campaign proposals into play.
Top work Minister; but raise the bar on yourself now.