Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Associate Primary Industries Minister Louise Upston say projects to help kokako in Bay of Plenty have been given more than $125,000 from the DOC Community Fund.
“Rotoehu Forest is home to 150 North Island kōkako (Callaeas wilsoni) but has the space to support at least 500 birds. Over three years, three groups will work together to carry out a combination of pest control, wilding pine removal and other weed control,” Ms Barry says.
“This will improve the natural forest habitat and local environment for these special birds.”
Kaharoa Kōkako Trust has been given $25,100 over 2016/17 for wilding pine control and improve access for contractors and visitors to an area of Kaharoa Conservation Area where there are kōkako.
“The Kaharoa kōkako population is one of the most accessible in the North Island. They are vulnerable to predators and their habitat needs tall standing trees in order for them to flourish. These organisations are doing their best to ensure kōkako have a fighting chance at survival,” Ms Upston says.
Both of these projects complement the War on Weeds and Battle for our Birds initiatives already underway.
“An extra $16m over four years was included in last year’s budget to control wilding pines as part of the War on Weeds. More than $20m also came from Budget 2016 for the Battle for our Birds to help fight back against an explosion in predator numbers caused by heavy forest seeding, or mast.”
A third community grant will help the Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa Runanga Trust set up signs and interactive smart phone stations – or iPou - where people can access the story and images of Lake Ngahewa and Lake Ngapouri.
“It builds on other interpretive information projects underway in the area,” Ms Barry says.
Ms Upston made the announcements in Rotorua today.
“I’d like to thank Minister Upston for making the announcements for me today and National Rotorua MP Todd McClay for his support advocacy of conservation work in his local area.”
The funding recipients are:
- Rotoehu Ecological Trust $102,209. This project is a collaboration between Rotoehu Ecological Trust, Kaingaroa Timberlands and Ngāti Mākino Heritage Trust for pest and weed control in Rotoehu Forest where about 150 kokako live.
- Kaharoa Kōkako Trust $25,100. To clear and reform road access and control areas of wilding pines in the Kaharoa Conservation Area to improve the habitat and ecosystem where kōkako live.
- Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa Runanga Trust - $8,600. Signage and IPOU at Lake Ngahewa and Lake Ngapouri, to share environmental, cultural and historical information on the two sites.
The DOC Community Fund will distribute more than $4 million in 2016/17 to organisations ranging from small community groups working across a single site to national partnerships.
Corrections Minister Louise Upston today welcomed 113 new Corrections Officer graduates to the team.
“It is fantastic to see such a large group graduating and joining our efforts to keep our communities safe and reduce reoffending,” Ms Upston says.
The officers will be based at prisons across the country.
“I am grateful that they have chosen to bring their experience and expertise to the department,” says Ms Upston.
“Each of them will be a role model and have an important part in motivating some of our most challenging citizens to make positive changes to their lives and those of their families.”
Raniera Whiu from Northland Region Corrections Facility and Waka Morete from Mt Eden Corrections Facility were presented with the Minister’s Excellence Award for their leadership, professionalism and all around excellence during training.
“We need people like these. Their passion, leadership and willingness to support their colleagues, and prisoners to make a change is admirable,” Ms Upston says.
Waka, who comes to Corrections from Australia, is the first person recruited from overseas through the new campaign.
Corrections has launched a recruitment campaign to attract 600 new Corrections officers by September this year.
Hawera has a brand new Community Corrections building that will be safer for staff, Corrections Minister Louise Upston says.
The building is part of a five-year nationwide renewal programme to make Community Corrections sites more secure.
Ms Upston said the purpose-built building has the best modern facilities and security of any new Community Corrections site in the country.
“The building offers a safer working environment for staff as well as having facilities that encourage positive interactions with offenders and their families.
“The safety and security features at Hawera Community Corrections include CCTV monitoring, a main entrance that can be remotely locked, duress alarms and swipe card access to staff-only areas,” says Ms Upston.
The new site also includes an improved community work area and dedicated rooms where work and living skills programmes as well as rehabilitation, motivation and maintenance programmes can be delivered. A new whanau room provides a comfortable space where staff can meet families of offenders.
“Hawera staff have the tools and resources to manage offenders and keep the community safe,” Ms Upston says.
The 14 staff at the site manage 286 offenders on 339 community-based sentences and orders including home detention and community work.
The building was officially opened today by Corrections chief executive Ray Smith.
More than 30,000 offenders are serving community-based sentences at any given time. Community Corrections supports these people to motivate them to make changes in their lives and give back to their communities.
A Christchurch family in need will have a new home and prisoners from Rolleston Prison have gained life-changing skills, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
The Minister visited the Rolleston Prison construction yard today where she saw the 50th house refurbished by prisoners for social housing.
The Yard Project is a partnership between Corrections and Housing New Zealand which provides community offenders and prisoners with qualifications and skills for employment. It also helps rejuvenate social housing stock and enables offenders to contribute to the rebuilding of Canterbury.
“It is a huge accomplishment for the men to have refurbished 50 houses, and an enormous boost to the wider community. It changes their lives and the lives of the people who move into these houses and make them into homes,” says Ms Upston.
Prisoners learn new skills and earn qualifications for employment on release while working in the yard. Trades taught include basic carpentry and joinery, plastering, painting, roof-fixing and insulation installation.
“Learning vital trade skills that are sorely needed in the community means these men leave prison as more employable people,” Ms Upston says.
“Supporting prisoners into stable employment is key to improving the lives of offenders, their families, whanau and the wider community.”
More than six years on from the first Canterbury quake, the need for refurbished housing is reducing and there are fewer houses to be sourced from the Red Zone.
The prison is investigating other partnering options and construction opportunities in the building and fit-out of portable buildings.
Putaruru, Turangi and more parts of Taupo will benefit from a boost to the Ultra-Fast Broadband programme, Local MP Louise Upston says.
The Government yesterday announced it was investing $300 million to expand the Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) programme to an additional 151 towns across New Zealand, plus 43 suburban fringe areas around the larger centres which were covered by the first phase of the programme.
“For our regions, this means the Taupo fringe and airport, Turangi and Putaruru will gain access to UFB,” Ms Upston says.
“High quality internet makes a difference to the way we run our local businesses, with access to the digital economy and greater commercial opportunities. In schools, students and teachers can benefit from online learning resources and explore innovative approaches to teaching and learning. It also brings convenience and efficiency to our everyday lives.
“The Government recognises the role of high quality internet in driving economic and social growth. We are working hard to deliver the best possible telecommunications infrastructure to all New Zealanders.”
Phase one of the UFB programme has already brought fibre access to more than a million households and businesses in 38 towns and cities across New Zealand including Taupo, Tokoroa and Cambridge.
“This expansion brings us closer to achieving our target of bringing faster broadband and better mobile coverage to 99 per cent of New Zealanders by 2025,” Ms Upston says.
Offenders across New Zealand completed more than 1.8 million hours of community work last year, says Corrections Minister Louise Upston.
A community work sentence requires offenders to complete a set number of hours of unpaid work which benefits the community.
“I am delighted to see those on community work sentences engaging in constructive activities aimed at positive change in themselves and helping their communities,” says Ms Upston.
“People sentenced to community work can use the opportunity to take responsibility for their offending and learn new skills and work habits.”
Offenders can be required to do between 40 and 400 hours of community work and can work up to 10 hours a day, or up to 40 hours in any one week. Sentences can include activities such as painting, gardening, building, graffiti-cleaning, restoration and recycling and the maintenance of public land.
“Community work can give offenders valuable skills and knowledge which may help them to gain paid employment later. We know stable employment can be a key to offenders maintaining crime-free lives. Community work is positive for offenders and for the communities they live and work in,” Ms Upston says.
Community work projects in 2016 included:
- Offenders from Ohakune, Raetihi and Taumarunui contributed around 720 hours to the development of the Ohakune Carrot Adventure Park which opened last October.
- Community work parties in Nelson helped with the Department of Conservation refurbishment project at Albion Square and supported the Sports Fishing for Youth Trust with maintenance of the fishing ponds and surrounding area.
- Community-based offenders from west Auckland have been completing their community work sentences at the Green Bay New Zealand Bird Rescue Charitable Trust, helping injured birds receive a new lease on life.
- 40 Te Awamutu community work offenders have begun a restoration project to plant more than 3500 native plants along the Puniu River as part of a key initiative of Waikato Regional Council and Sustainable Coastlines.
Community work is one of nine community-based sentences and orders managed by the Department of Corrections. It is supervised and is done in groups or individually.