Government hands One Billion Trees scheme $240 million boost

Government hands One Billion Trees scheme $240 million boost
Photo credit: File

The Government has announced a new $240 million funding scheme as part of its One Billion Trees programme.

It's set aside $240 million from the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund for grants and partnership projects aimed at getting new planting underway.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones said about $120 million of the scheme would be focussed on grants in 'surge regions' needing investment including Te Tai Tokerau, Tairāwhiti, Manawatu, Whanganui, the deep south and Te Tai Poutini.

He said grants will be available later this year. The split for planting under the scheme will be one-third exotic trees and two-thirds native.

"Regional government is telling us that too much soil is slipping into the ocean - and unless we do something about it, rather than just talking about it, we're going to have an ongoing set of environmental challenges," Mr Jones said.

Partnerships will be formed with NGOs, community groups, iwi, regional and local council, and commercial investors, with $120 million available over the next three years.

Mr Jones said it is hoped up to 1000 New Zealanders will be employed in rolling out the programme.

It brings the total amount allocated to the One Billion Trees programme to $485 million, as the Government previously announced an investment of $245 million into joint ventures and the Hill Country Erosion programme.

"Every tree that's planted is not only employing someone, it's also allowing us to rely on forestry to meet some of our climate change obligations," Mr Jones said.

"Exotic forests do enable us to take the baddies out of the atmosphere a lot quicker. A pine tree sequests over its 25-year life very quickly a lot of the carbon baddies in the atmosphere."

The Government says the scheme will get an additional 60 million trees in the ground by 2020. Its goal is to plant 1 billion trees by 2028.