Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has congratulated and welcomed Scott Simpson in his new role as Parliamentary Private Secretary on conservation and environmental matters.
“It is great to have Scott recognised in a more formal role and he will be a real asset as a committed and knowledgeable conservationist. In his role as the highly competent chair of the Environment and Local Government Select committee I have worked closely with Scott on a number of key projects and legislation,” Ms Barry says.
“The role will also help inform Scott on a number of issues coming before the select committee in the next few months.”
“His appointment comes just ahead of a visit to the subantarctic islands where he will be part of a group looking at the conservation work associated with predator free island programmes and the challenges DOC faces protecting vulnerable native species in an often hostile environment.”
“As the MP for Coromandel Scott is well placed to understand first hand some very successful projects on the mainland including actively supporting the great work of the Pukorokoro-Miranda Shorebird centre, protecting the nesting Godwits and Red Knots.”
“As the Prime Minister said when he announced the appointments, the Parliamentary Private Secretary role is an important one that helps to ensure strong links between myself as the Minister, the caucus and the wider conservation communities.”
The appointment is effective immediately.
Nine community-led conservation projects in the Auckland area will receive funding this year to maintain and restore the diversity of the region’s natural heritage, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
“These groups will continue the War on Weeds, protect historic Maori sites, complete kiwi transfers and carry out pest control work in several areas. More than $291,000 from the DOC Community Fund is going to these practical, locally-driven projects,” Ms Barry says.
“The DOC Community Fund was set up in 2014 to distribute $26 million over four years to inspire and enable these sorts of projects around New Zealand.”
$40,000 is going towards weed control on the Te Henga Track, part of the Hillary Trail in the Waitakere Ranges.
“Te Henga is popular with local, national and international visitors and sees a lot of foot traffic throughout the year. The volunteers plan to reduce the spread of weeds near the track and repair parts where it has been severely eroded,” Ms Barry says.
“The work should improve access for visitors and encourage walkers to stay on the track.”
The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, locally based National list MP Alfred Ngaro says “the volunteer efforts on projects such as Te Henga track make such a difference to the conservation outcome. They do great work.”
DOC Community funding will also pay for a new iwi ranger on Motuora Island, fund the transfer of at least 16 Coromandel Brown kiwi to Motutapu Island and restore significant Māori and historic sites on Motuihe Island.
The projects are among 22 community led projects around the country to receive funding in the 2016/17 funding round.
The Auckland projects to receive funding are:
- Motuora Island Restoration $14,000 to undertake weed control on the 80-hectare Motuora Island, including along the difficult to access coastal cliffs.
- Nga Taonga o Kaipara- Management Plans $30,000 for restoration of 9 reserves and ex-conservation sites and work to enhance the natural and sensitive environment of South Head.
- Coromandel Brown Kiwi Translocation to Motutapu $28,526 to transfer at least 16 more Coromandel Brown Kiwi to Motutapu to establish a genetically viable population of 40 to 50 birds. The project has translocated 24 birds to date.
- Motuihe Island Invasive Weed Control Programme $49,000 to restore, enhance and protect the indigenous flora and fauna, and significant Māori and historic sites on Motuihe Island.
- Te Henga-Hillary Trail, Ecological and Restoration Group $40,000 for weed control, pest control and track maintenance.
- Restoring Mauri: Whenua Rangatira - Past, Present and Future $25,000 Whenua Rangatira is New Zealand’s first co-governed public park created under the Ōrākei Act 1991. It is an example of urban conservation that reflects tikanga Māori.
- Te Matuku Bay Scenic Reserve Weed Eradication Project $20,000 to tackle invasive weed species. It is part of a wider landscape management approach to the control of pest plants and animals in the Te Matuku Bay catchment.
- Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp Weed Eradication Project $35,000 to target invasive weeds and seed sources and will support supplementary planting so native flora species can regenerate.
- Motuora Island Ranger $50,000 for a new iwi ranger on pest-free Motuora Island. The role will also help coordinate weed control programmes, promote iwi-led conservation initiatives and maintain the bio-security of the island.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has welcomed the opening today of the new Wildbase wildlife hospital in Palmerston North.
“I congratulate Massey University on this thoroughly modern and fit for purpose new facility which will provide the next generation of conservation care,” Ms Barry says.
“Past and present Massey staff and students have made an enormous contribution in the 15 years since a Wildbase Hospital was first established. They started with 50 patients in 2001 and that grew to 317 last year - a 534% increase which gives us an idea of the high demand for the quality care they’ve provided.”
“From my original tour of the hospital in 2015 it was clear how much this new larger facility was needed. Half the animals they treat are threatened or endangered species.”
“Wildbase was then and remains the only dedicated wildlife hospital in New Zealand. Staff and vet students treat and actively assist their patients return to the wild as quickly as possible.”
“It is also an example of a strong working partnership between the university, business, community groups and individuals to have funded the upgrade. That reflects the Government’s belief that no single entity can do it alone and growing conservation is a joint responsibility.”
Local National MP and former Manawatu District mayor Ian McKelvie opened the new facility on my behalf earlier today.
“Wildbase is indeed an outstanding world class organisation fully deserving of this fantastic new facility and the country is fortunate to have it,” Ms Barry says.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today installed the first of 1,200 new stoat traps in Rimutaka Forest Park east of Wellington.
“Volunteer groups will check the traps and manage the new predator control scheme, which more than doubles the current safe-zone for kiwi to 7,000 ha,” Ms Barry says.
“This is Predator Free 2050 in action. Joining forces with the community enables us to achieve big wins together, such as reversing kiwi decline in the wild.”
“Rimutaka Forest Park Trust and MOA Conservation Trust members already check 90 kilometres of trap lines in the rugged hill country. We are thrilled to be growing the trap network – and the protection for kiwi.”
The extended area crosses the popular Catchpool and Orongorongo valleys which welcome more than 30,000 visitors a year.
“Stoats are now considered ‘public enemy number one’ for New Zealand birds. Killing of young kiwi, mainly by stoats, is the most significant factor contributing to the decline of mainland kiwi populations,” Ms Barry says.
The 1,200 new traps designed by Wellington company Goodnature utilise the latest lure technology.
The self-resetting traps have been funded by Department of Conservation.
“They automatically reset after each kill and pump out fresh lure, reducing work for volunteers,” Ms Barry says.
“New Zealand is a world leader in conservation technology and research. The Government is focusing on developing breakthrough techniques and is supporting Goodnature and others to ensure we have the right tools to make Predator Free 2050 a reality.”
“Native birds such as kaka are expanding from Wellington – a safe haven in the Rimutaka will provide a network of protection alongside Zealandia and Kapiti Island.”
Volunteer work to protect the Wellington region’s special places from weeds, pests and predators will receive a valuable boost through the DOC Community Fund, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.
Six groups from across the region will receive more than $124,000 in grants this year.
“Community conservation is an essential part of protecting our nation’s natural beauty and we are committed to supporting them through the DOC Community Fund,” Ms Barry says.
“From the rugged hills of Wellington’s south coast to the dunes of Castlepoint, these groups are making an immediate and positive difference to the War on Weeds and our ongoing fight against predators.”
Ms Barry made the announcement on a visit to the Rimutaka Forest Park outside Lower Hutt today, where dedicated community work has helped to create a safe habitat for kiwi close to the capital city.
In addition to the regional grants, the Wellington-based Endangered Species Foundation of New Zealand will receive $40,000 for its nationwide Ambassador Club, a funding and awareness-raising network.
“This support will enable the Foundation to continue to raise its funding base and expand its work advocating for lesser-known, remarkable New Zealand native species, such as the Chesterfield skink.”
The groups to receive funding are:
- Wellington Natural Heritage Trust - $38,000 to support restoration of the Long Gully Bush Reserve in Karori, targeting weeds and invasive pests
- Brooklyn Trail Builders - $10,000 for pest control work on the Hawkins Hill trails, south of the Brooklyn wind turbine
- Castlepoint Ratepayers & Residents Association and Te Hika a Papauma - $33,000 to help set up a native plant nursery to grow spinifex and pingao for replanting at Castlepoint in the Wairarapa
- Aorangi Restoration Trust - $20,000 to develop an ongoing plan for restoration of the Aorangi Forest Park near Martinborough
- Whareroa Guardians Community Trust - $15,000 for wetland protection at the Whareroa Farm Reserve, Paekakariki
- Kotukutuku Ecological Restoration Project - $8700 for predator control work in native forest on private land near Paraparaumu.
In total, 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 partnersh
Four ambitious conservation projects in Gisborne have received $78,000 in support from the DOC Community Fund, Conservation Ministers Maggie Barry and Nicky Wagner have announced.Read more