Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner have presented traps to two community groups at a Predator Free 2050 event in Christchurch today.
The Little River Trap Library and Lyttleton Primary School were given more than 50 traps and bait worth about $8000 for their work to control rats, possums and stoats on Banks Peninsula and in Lyttelton, funded through the DOC Predator Free Rangers Enabling Fund of $300,000.
“The Little River Trap Library was the first of its kind in New Zealand and lends traps for free to people wanting to protect wildlife on their properties on Banks Peninsula. This community venture has successfully seeded many small-scale predator control projects that will together help achieve the Predator Free Banks Peninsula vision,” Ms Barry says.
“Lyttelton Primary School has plans to start trapping in an area the school has been helping to restore on Lyttelton Port Company land, near Lyttelton township. The easy-to-use traps will enable the school children to take their conservation work to the next level.”
“These two projects are examples of outstanding community leadership, collaboration and tireless dedication to eradicating predators from their own backyards and create pockets of safe habitat for our wildlife to flourish.”
Ms Wagner says there are many great examples of people working together to protect native species through predator control around Christchurch, on Banks Peninsula and in Canterbury.
“Tui are beginning to prosper on the peninsula again and the white-flippered penguin colony in Flea Bay/Pohatu has doubled in size since this work began,” Ms Wagner says.
“Eventually I believe these predator-free areas will expand to cover the whole of Lyttelton, Banks Peninsular, wider Christchurch and beyond. I’m confident that by 2050 we’ll have a rat, stoat and possum-free New Zealand.”
“Forty traps and bait were donated to the Little River Trap Library, while 15 traps were given to Lyttelton Primary School, including five possum traps from Lyttelton Port Company,’ Ms Wagner says.
DOC will allocate a further $22,000 in Canterbury with four other predator control projects being considered.
DOC provides support and advice to advance predator-free initiatives and has nine Predator Free Rangers, including one based in Christchurch, to help coordinate community predator control activities.
The Lawson Field Theatre in Gisborne is receiving a capital grant of more than $400,000 towards seismic strengthening.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry says the Gisborne District Council was forced to close the theatre last October due to its earthquake prone status.
“The theatre is a sought-after venue for local productions and smaller touring performances and has been much missed. This $417,513 grant from the Regional Culture Heritage Fund will help the Council complete pressing seismic strengthening work,” Ms Barry says.
“Having the theatre operational again broadens the range of cultural experiences on offer in Gisborne and will be a real boost to the community.”
“The grant is conditional on the Council’s commitment to completing stage two of the project which will see the interior facilities and equipment in the theatre upgraded to a high standard.”
Ms Barry has acknowledged the strong advocacy of local National MP Hon Anne Tolley for the work to be funded.
Established in 2016 with $29.527 million in funding over three years, the RCHF is for capital projects specifically benefitting regional arts, culture and heritage institutions.
“These regional centres attract the economic and social benefits of new visitors, businesses and resident’s to New Zealand’s smaller towns and cities,” Ms Barry says.
Today’s announcement is from Round Three of the RCHF. Further information about the fund can be found at: www.mch.govt.nz/RegionalCultureHeritageFund.
Previously announced grants in Round Two were:$4 million to Hasting’s Hawke’s Bay Opera House Seismic Strengthening Project $3 million to Whangarei’s Hundertwasser Art Centre Project Just over $1 million to Foxton’s Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom Project Just over $1 million to Stewart Island’s Rakiura Heritage Centre $900,000 to Blenheim’s ASB Theatre for its Studio Theatre $22,884 to Masterton’s Woolshed Heritage Centre.
In 2016, Round One recipients were:$10 million to Wanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery – towards the redevelopment and seismic strengthening of its heritage-listed Queen’s Park building $1.5 million towards the restoration of the Nelson School of Music’s auditorium $1.5 million towards Whakatane’s Museum and Research Centre redevelopment, $400,000 to the Whanganui Museum for its redevelopment $368,000 towards Hamilton’s Meteor Theatre redevelopment and $110,000 towards Gore’s Eastern Southland Gallery project to establish a Muka Studio Wing for its arts centre.
National will support the preservation of New Zealand’s historic buildings with a $30 million investment in quake-strengthening work.
“We recognise the importance of heritage buildings to our communities and the real need for funding to help with the financial burden of earthquake strengthening,” Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Maggie Barry has announced.
“A National Government will invest an additional $30 million over the next four years into the Regional Culture & Heritage Fund to support quake strengthening and development of cultural facilities such as museums, art galleries and theatres.”
The criteria for the fund will also be expanded so it can be accessed by heritage-listed places of worship in need of strengthening.
“St Mary’s Cathedral in New Plymouth and the Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo are two of the buildings which could benefit from the change and will be identified as priorities under National,” Ms Barry says.
“Whether you’re a religious person or not, historic churches and other places of worship are central parts of a community’s character. They are landmarks, venues and meeting places for many people and among our grandest and most architecturally significant buildings.
“Several high-profile heritage-listed places of worship in New Zealand require earthquake strengthening. Often, the cost of work is higher than for other types of building because heritage elements need to be preserved.
“For example, St Mary’s Cathedral, the oldest stone church in New Zealand, requires millions of dollars in strengthening work. They could be eligible for around a third of the cost of that work through the extended Fund.”
The Regional Culture & Heritage Fund has delivered support for facilities such as Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery, the Hawkes Bay Opera House and the ASB Theatre in Blenheim.
The new funding injection will be added to the ongoing appropriation for the Fund, raising it to an average of $13.7 million a year, or $54.8 million in total over the next four years.
“The Regional Culture & Heritage Fund remains a fund of last resort, and applicants will have to show they have already secured funding from local government and philanthropic contributions on the “a third, a third, a third” principle – that won’t be changing,” Ms Barry says.
“Applications go through a rigorous independent assessment process through the Ministry for Culture & Heritage to ensure the taxpayer gets value for money from the investment.”
Three of Napier city centre’s art deco and character buildings are to receive more than $180,000 for earthquake strengthening work.
Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry made the announcements in Napier today and says they’re part of round two of the Heritage EQUIP scheme which was set up in 2016 to support private owners of heritage buildings get necessary earthquake strengthening work done.
“Heritage buildings are an important part of the character of New Zealand, but the cost of strengthening can, in some cases, be prohibitive and unsustainable for owners. Heritage EQUIP provides support to preserve our built heritage,” Ms Barry says.
Following the Napier Earthquake in on February 3, 1931 much of Napier had to be re-built.
“As hard as that must have been at the time, we now have a wonderful collection of Art Deco buildings which have made Napier’s CBD famous. The strengthening work will ensure the buildings are safe for the public and make sure the buildings remain part of our heritage for years and generations to come,” Ms Barry says.
“The Art Deco architecture on display in Napier is a considerable tourist drawcard so there are substantial economic benefits to undertaking this work.”
“As well as the funding, Heritage EQUIP includes web-based information and resources to help owners, heritageequip.govt.nz.”
The Napier buildings to be strengthened are:Mid City Plaza, Dickens St end (grant of $150,000) is part of the Napier historic city centre and is registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The plaza was built between 1920 and 1925 and survived the Napier earthquake with little damage. The grant will contribute towards the cost of removing, replacing and bracing the unreinforced first floor, and constructing ground floor foundations and shear walls. Munster Chambers (grant of $17,500) was designed by local architects J A Louis Hay and Natusch and Sons. Construction was finished in 1933. It has unreinforced masonry walls which pose a risk to occupants, but they are the only element which are giving the building its earthquake risk status. It is a category 2 historic place. Gallate’s Building at 148 Emerson St (grant of $14,753) was completed in 1932. It is currently a menswear shop and residential apartments. The exterior has already been upgraded to ensure it contributes to Napier’s Art Deco streetscape. It is a group 1 heritage building on the Napier District Plan and is part of the Napier City Centre Historic Area. It needs strengthening to improve the connection between the roof framing and the side walls on the first floor.
Some of New Zealand’s finest tracks are set to become part of a new network of Great Short and Great Day walks, Tourism Minister Paula Bennett and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced.
“We’re bringing new facilities and a new, higher profile to some of the best walking experiences New Zealand has to offer as part of Budget 2017’s $76m investment in DOC’s infrastructure,” Mrs Bennett says.
The Great Day and Great Short Walks, developed by DOC in partnership with Tourism New Zealand, are an expansion of the highly successful Great Walks brand aimed at promoting more of the fantastic walking experiences available across the country.
“This is a chance to draw more tourists off the beaten track and enable more communities to benefit from increasing visitor numbers,” Mrs Bennett says.
The Budget 2017 funding will allow DOC to better manage the impact of visitor growth, while also protecting biodiversity and threatened species.
“Ranging from Mt Manaia in Northland to Lake Gunn in Fiordland, the walks have been chosen from DOC’s best and most spectacular tracks. Some, such as the track to Cathedral Cove, are already world famous, while others are relatively unknown gems,” Ms Barry says.
Ms Barry released the list of walks, which includes the Cape Kidnappers Great Day Walk, while in Napier today.
“While many of these chosen walks are already top quality, others will see investment to make them truly world-class, with new facilities such as toilets or improved track surfaces.
“DOC’s own research has shown tourists are looking for shorter, easier experiences and we’re meeting that demand by highlighting the best through this new brand.”
The new networks will be officially launched by DOC and Tourism New Zealand in October this year.
Great Short Walks (30 minutes to 3 hours)
o Mt Manaia, Northland
o Mangawhai Cliff, Northland
o Rangitoto Summit, Auckland
o Cathedral Cove, Coromandel
o Wainui Falls, Golden Bay
o Charming Creek, West Coast
o Cape Foulwind, West Coast
o Devil’s Punchbowl, Arthur’s Pass
o Kura Tawhiti, Canterbury
o Lake Matheson, West Coast
o Fox Glacier, West Coast
o Tasman Glacier View, Mt Cook
o Blue Pools, Haast PassLake Gunn, Fiordland
Great Day Walks (4-6 hours)
o Te Whara - Bream Head, Northland
o Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay
o Tongariro Alpine Crossing, Ruapehu
o Hooker Valley, Aoraki
o Roy’s Peak, Wanaka
National will boost Predator Free 2050 with $69.2 million of new funding over the next four years to ramp up the ambitious, world-leading pest eradication programme.
“We have been absolutely thrilled with the enthusiasm of communities up and down the country about Predator Free since it was launched one year ago,” Conservation Spokeswoman Maggie Barry says.
“National in Government will match the commitment of our volunteers, councils and philanthropists and turn this project into something that will achieve what Sir Paul Callaghan called “New Zealand’s moonshot”.”
The Predator-Free programme has the ambitious goal of protecting New Zealand’s unique plants and animals by eradicating rats, stoats, and possums from New Zealand by 2050.
As part of this new funding package National will create a $40 million contestable fund for Predator Free community projects to support the hundreds of groups around the country dedicated to tackling predators.
The $40 million would be invested over four years and administered by Predator Free 2050 Ltd, the Crown Company established to drive the effort to rid New Zealand of introduced pests by 2050.
“There’s been an extraordinary surge of enthusiasm from New Zealanders for Predator Free – with thousands of volunteers in Wellington alone. We want to harness their immense potential by giving them a significant boost in funding and resources and help them access traps, skills and expertise on a much greater scale than previously,” Ms Barry says.
Ms Barry says a further $21 million of the new funding will go towards boosting DOC’s baseline predator control funding to help ensure we hit the interim Predator Free target of 1 million hectares under sustained control by 2025 well ahead of schedule.
On top of this, National will provide $8 million over four years to DOC to double the number of specialist rangers charged with supporting Predator Free community groups and to invest in upgrades of equipment such as traps and lures as new technologies are developed through Predator Free 2050.
“The new funding means that the total government investment in Predator Free 2050 will climb to more than $24 million annually, or $97 million over four years. And that’s before we add in the private sector and council contributions,” Ms Barry says.
“New Zealand’s natural world is at the core of our quality of life, our national identity and our competitive advantage, and National is committed to protecting and enhancing it.
“Predator Free 2050 is our very best opportunity to protect our unique birds and animals for future generations. By combining the efforts of the Government, the philanthropic sector and thousands of committed volunteers we are confident we can make great progress towards a Predator Free New Zealand by 2050,” Ms Barry says.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today started the process of finding out from New Zealanders where they want DOCs next Great Walks to be.
“DOC is adding two new Great Walks to its existing 9 multi-day hikes to cater to the increasing number of visitors who want to connect with nature and walk through our stunning natural landscapes,” Ms Barry says.
“This is New Zealanders’ first opportunity to say where our next Great Walks should be. DOC is looking for proposals for existing tracks that could be enhanced to meet the standard of the Great Walks brand – multi-day, with good toilets, huts and car parking.”
“The Government has invested $76 million through Budget 2017 on new and upgraded tourism infrastructure for the Department of Conservation to allow it to better manage the impact of visitor growth, while also protecting our biodiversity and threatened species through projects like Predator Free 2050.”
DOC will assess each proposal against a selection criteria including benefits for conservation, ease of access for New Zealanders, opportunities to engage with Māori culture and overall feasibility.
“Our existing nine Great Walks are some of New Zealand’s best-known nature experiences and increasingly more New Zealanders and international visitors are choosing these multiday adventures,” Ms Barry says.
“Developing two new walks presents an opportunity for people to enjoy different types of landscapes and explore lesser-visited parts of the country.”
“Any new Great Walks need to have the strong support and buy-in from their local communities so they’re excited and ready to welcome and host visitors.”
The new Great Walks will be selected via a two-step process
“DOC will accept initial proposals until 30 November this year which will be assessed by an external independent panel and subject to consultation with iwi,” Ms Barry says.
“Submitters whose ideas meet the criteria and have potential will then be asked for full proposals. Final decisions on the two new Great Walk locations are expected by July 2018 with the walks open for visitor use by the summer of 2021.”
The Great Walks consultation page is www.doc.govt.nz/newgreatwalks
Further informationCurrently DOC offers nine Great Walks: Rakiura Track Milford Track Kepler Track Routeburn Track Heaphy Track Abel Tasman Coast Track Whanganui Journey (technically a paddle not a walk) Lake Waikaremoana Tongariro Northern Circuit Paparoa Track is currently in development on the West Coast. The two walks selected through this process will make a total of twelve. Four of the Great Walks are above 90% occupancy. On the day that bookings opened this year 71% of the spaces on the Milford Track were booked. In the first week of booking being available 50% of the spaces were purchased by New Zealanders.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced the re-appointment of two members of the Queen Elizabeth ll National Trust.
“I’m delighted Chairperson James Guild (MNZA) and Director Bruce Wills have agreed to stay on the board and continue the excellent work underway as the Trust celebrates its 40th anniversary,” Ms Barry says.
“Both men will serve another 3-year term and use their considerable skills and experience to ensure the Trust continues to win support from landowners willing to covenant their land for future generations.
“New Zealand’s covenanting landowners are making a remarkable contribution to our goal of protecting our landscape and becoming predator free by 2050. To date, the Trust has registered over 4,225 covenants protecting more than 166,700 hectares.
“Recent research from Waikato University’s Institute for Business Research shows an estimated $25 million of covenanting landowners’ own money is being spent annually on protecting native species, forests, wetlands and other unique landscapes,” Ms Barry says.
The Government provided $1 million over 3 years to support the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative in New Zealand. This funding has enabled the QEII National Trust to extend its network of covenants over native forest on private land.
“The Trust is doing incredible work in supporting these partnerships to deliver huge gains for conservation across the country,” says Ms Barry.
A National Government will ensure international visitors pay more to experience our world-famous Great Walks, providing more funding for conservation initiatives.
“The nine Great Walks are among New Zealand’s most popular visitor attractions, but they run at a $1 million annual loss,” , conservation spokeswoman Maggie Barry says.
“We believe it’s fair that international visitors who experience our Great Walks pay a little more to enjoy our landscape and contribute to protecting our native wildlife.”
From October 2018, international visitors will pay double the fee on the five most popular Great Walks (Milford, Routeburn, Kepler, Abel Tasman and Tongariro), and 50 per cent extra for the other Great Walks and backcountry hut passes.
“There are no changes for New Zealanders – hut charges for Great Walks will stay at their current low levels,” Ms Barry says
“New charges will also apply to the under-construction Paparoa Track and the two new Great Walks planned as part of Budget 2017’s $76 million investment in conservation.
“National will also close a loophole which has seen international school parties book out huts without paying, by introducing a charge for teenagers and children from overseas.”
These changes will generate more than $4 million a year in extra revenue, all of which will be allocated to Department of Conservation (DOC) programmes.
“The extra revenue will ensure the Great Walks continue to be a world-class experience for visitors and New Zealanders – and provide additional resources to protect native species like the kea, kiwi and kokako,” Ms Barry says.
“Together with today’s announcement of an additional $5.4 million a year for community conservation programmes, National is showing its commitment to supporting community groups and DOC continue to protect out natural environment.”
Conservation work in New Zealand will be supercharged by substantially increasing the amount of money available to hard-working volunteer groups.
“We have a beautiful natural environment, and the efforts of local communities are crucial to protecting our landscape and native species for future generations,” National Party Conservation Spokesperson Maggie Barry says.
To support these groups, National will more than double the amount of funding available through the Department of Conservation Community Fund, from $4.6 million to $10 million a year.
“Local communities play a vital part in conserving our natural environment - from the War on Weeds and wilding conifer control to predator trapping networks, wetland restoration and the upkeep of historic huts.
“Since opening in 2014 the DOC Community Fund has supported more than 300 projects. National is determined to give volunteer groups them even more support – teaming DOC expertise with community enthusiasm to achieve goals neither could manage alone.
“Increased funding will enable more community groups to expand their scale and ambition. It means we can support multi-year initiatives and enable the use of new technologies, including biological controls for weeds.”
“This new community funding is on top of the additional $4 million a year DOC will receive as a result of National introducing additional charges for international tourists using our Great Walks.
“National is committed to protecting what makes this country special, helping DOC and volunteer groups to work together to protect our beautiful landscape and native species.”
As part of this announcement, National also released its Community and Voluntary Sector policy, setting out its commitment to working with our volunteers and community organisations.