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Green Party Budget Initiatives Boost Conservation Projects

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

20 May 2008 - Two important conservation programmes will get a major funding boost of $12 million, thanks to the Green Party's successful Budget initiative.

MP Metiria Turei has secured a total funding package of $12 million to support community and government biodiversity partnerships, and research into the conservation impacts of climate change and carbon storage.

Funding of $8 million over four years will go to five major research projects on climate change on conservation land. $4 million, over two years, will go to the new National Community Biodiversity Fund to support restoration projects on public land that protect indigenous biodiversity. This will complement the existing Biodiversity Condition and Advice Fund of $3.5 million a year that funds projects on private land.

"Community groups are doing significant restoration work on public land like dune lands and urban waterways. These groups need support but often have difficulty accessing money for equipment or expertise. I expect to see the fund also support projects on Maori land, which often does not qualify as private land for funding purposes," Mrs Turei says.

In a time of increasing concern for food affordability, freshwater restoration projects can help to rebuild freshwater plant and fish food sources.

"Conservation land should be protected and its natural values restored. And now we will be able to demonstrate the extent to which native forest can mitigate the effects of climate change and how to best manage this resource in an increasingly unstable global climate."

The five projects on conservation land will research:

The climate change implications for threatened species and threatened environments - case studies of wildlife will consider the impacts of climate change on species least able to adapt. The impacts changes in snow melt will have on ecosystems such as river and underground aquifers. Changes in plant diversity which influence carbon storage and the potential for carbon gains. How increasing carbon storage can maximise biodiversity values. The impact of extreme weather events such as floods, slippage, wind storms, tidal surges, avalanches and rock fall on management of huts, tracks, and campsites on DOC land.

"The Greens use our budget opportunities wisely to benefit New Zealanders. We neither waste opportunities nor resources," Mrs Turei says.

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