Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry have announced the Government will control the spread of wilding conifers over an additional five priority areas this year in Canterbury, Otago and Southland.
The five new areas, covering 371,000 hectares of affected land, add to the 1 million-plus hectares of successful control delivered last year across 14 priority areas.
“Our national wilding conifer control programme last year was so successful that we’ve been able to bring forward some of the work planned for the programme,” says Mr Guy.
“Our success last year was due largely to the way everyone got stuck in together to control the spread of these invasive trees as part of the War on Weeds. This year, by tackling these areas earlier, we’ll reduce the amount of wilding conifer spread from them and have more hectares under control over the longer term.
“Planted in the right place conifers can provide timber, increase carbon storage, decrease erosion and provide shelter for stock. But in the wrong place conifers are a major threat to our ecosystems, land and farms – where they compete with native plants and animals and can severely alter natural landscapes.”
This is the second year of the national control programme to remove self-sown trees that have spread from introduced conifers. These invasive trees affect over 2 million hectares of New Zealand, and prior to the national control programme were spreading at a rate of 90,000 hectares a year.
The programme is being implemented by the Ministry for Primary Industries, Department of Conservation, and Land Information New Zealand in partnership with other central government agencies, local government, forestry and farming industries, iwi groups, landowners, researchers and community trusts and organisations.
“Wilding conifer management is an excellent example of working across Government to achieve results for conservation and the economy,” Ms Barry says.
“LINZ is also involved in this work, with the launch of its new Wilding Conifer Information System in Queenstown today a vital tool in control efforts.
“As the number one enemy in the War on Weeds, we understand that turning back the spread of wilding conifers is crucial. If we did nothing, wildings would cover nearly two and quarter million hectares of the conservation estate by 2035.”
This year the national programme contribution towards wilding conifer control across all management units will be $6.35 million, and is supported by co-funding of $1.88 million from other parties. Over the four years of phase 1 of the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme, the Government has pledged $16 million.
The five new priority areas added to the programme in 2017/18 are:
Tekapo West, Tekapo East, Ohau (McKenzie, Canterbury)
These three areas are a significant step towards tackling some of the most significant and well-known areas of wilding conifers in New Zealand. This work will protect iconic high country tourist landscapes, conservation values (such as kaki/black stilt habitat), farmland, recreational opportunities and water catchments for hydro-electricity and irrigation.
Lammermoor addresses spread at a relatively early stage across an extensive area of land that is highly vulnerable to invasion. This area contains significant conservation values and highly sensitive water catchments as well as large areas of vulnerable farmland.
Mid-Dome (Northern Southland)
Mid Dome will commence work to address a significant and high profile infestation and protect significant investment in the area. The national programme can realise significant efficiencies through the rapid removal of seeding trees, resulting in substantial savings in the longer term.
More about the wilding conifer control programme, and last year’s successful control efforts, can be found on the MPI website.
Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy has officially re-opened the Coastguard ramp at Kaikoura harbour today, eight months after it was badly damaged in the November 2016 earthquake.
“It’s great for the local community to have the ramp now fully operational, after the earthquake made it unusable except at high tide,” says Mr Guy.
The project was paid for under the government’s $5.7m funding to restore the harbour to full functionality.
“The ramp is the home of the Kaikoura Coastguard. In the 12 months to June this year, Coastguard Kaikoura volunteers gave 2851 hours, responded to 11 call-outs and safely bought home 20 people.
“Normally, the rescue boat Kaikōura Rescue can be on the water in seven to ten minutes after receiving a callout. However, after the earthquake, with the raised seabed and damaged slipway, launching was only possible at three-quarters or full tide.
“While the repair works were underway Coastguard had to tow the vessel to the main marina and launch there, taking a further seven to 15 minutes to get on the water.
“This is another key milestone in the work towards deepening and re-opening the harbour by November this year, in time for the tourist season. That means the harbour will better than it was before and in the future larger boats can use it.”
The Government has provided a wide range of support to local councils in the region including:Up to $12 million of the government’s 60% contribution towards the cost of the remediation of horizontal infrastructure is available to Kaikōura District Council in cash advances $2.4 million is available for Kaikōura District Council to use for upgrading damaged infrastructure, rather than just replacing or repairing it. $2.5 million in funding has been allocated across the three councils to support their additional statutory functions after the earthquake, such as building consents, planning and hazard management. $2.6 million to help Hurunui and Kaikōura districts repair waste facilities, recycle earthquake debris and manage hazardous waste. $5.72 million to restore the Kaikōura District Council owned Harbour. $2 million to cover Council debt on Kaikōura Health Centre $11.4 million towards the repair and emergency works of local roads.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced a new $520,000 fund to help the Kaikoura paua fishing community as the latest primary sector support following November’s earthquakes.
This new fund follows the almost $3.5 million that has already been granted to farmers and growers for uninsurable infrastructure repair following the November 2016 earthquakes.
Speaking at a visit to the area today, Mr Guy said the new fund was part of acknowledging the challenges faced by the commercial paua fisher community since the earthquake.
“We have set aside up to $360,000 that can be distributed directly as grants for affected commercial paua fishers,” said Mr Guy.
“Extra funding of $40,000 is going to strengthen the essential community-based support for the commercial paua and sea weed harvesting community of Kaikoura.
“This part of the package is similar to what we have done with the rural sector to help them recover from the impact of the earthquake, by funding recovery activities through their local Rural Support Trusts. The Trusts have done a great job in supporting primary sector farmers, fishers, families and workers.
“The package also includes $110,000 to support recovery of the paua population, which we recognise is urgent, and $10,000 as a contribution to restoring safe boat access for commercial fishers.”
“The primary sector recovery funds are also focused on helping affected farmers, fishers and growers to plan for the future, especially where land use needs to change.
“Many people in the Kaikoura, Hurunui and Marlborough regions are now faced with the challenge of deciding what to do with their land which has changed as a result of the quakes. In May I released the Primary Industries Earthquake Recovery Fund, designed to help with those decisions.”
The $5 million Earthquake Recovery Fund is divided into two options to give farmers, growers and foresters the right support depending on their needs. Funding for community projects can be up to $600,000 over three years for projects starting from October 2017. Funding for advisory services can be up to $5,000 per property.
“By the start of August, farmers will be able to access an approved list of advisory service providers to consider their future land-use options, and community groups who have applied for project funding will be advised whether their project was successful.”
Following the November earthquakes, the Government announced an Earthquake Relief Fund for the initial phase of repairing uninsurable infrastructure. 90 grants have now been distributed to farms, orchards and forestry blocks to help with repairs for their uninsurable infrastructure.
The Ministry for Primary Industries’ Skilled Worker and Volunteer programme wrapped up on 30 June 2017. A total of 65 farms had teams of skilled workers and volunteers through to help with labour – mainly fencing.
More than 12,000 skilled worker hours and 2000 volunteer hours of work were provided by 43 skilled workers and 56 volunteers.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy today announced Government funding of $50,000 for the Bay of Plenty to look at economic growth opportunities through the use of water across the region.
The announcement was made at the Bay of Connections Forum today in Rotorua where a refreshed Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Economic Action Plan was launched.
“The Bay of Plenty region is blessed with the natural resource of water from its coastal and lake environments. It underpins economic growth opportunities across most of the key industries in the region – horticulture, forestry, agriculture and tourism,” Mr Bridges says.
The funding comes from the Ministry for Primary Industries Irrigation Acceleration Fund and has been matched by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council. It will enable the council to undertake a strategic water management study that could feed into a Water Management Plan for the region.
“This study will provide invaluable information to help ensure the region’s water is responsibly managed for the benefit of everybody in the area. It will help determine the need for water infrastructure, where it’s most needed and for what purpose,” Mr Guy says.
“Good water storage schemes are a foundation for responsible water management and communities become more resilient as a reliable water supply provides economic, environmental, cultural, recreational and social benefits.
“The study will help underpin the future direction of sustainable economic growth in the region. Without this work being done the opportunities for the best capture and use of fresh water in the region may not be fully recognised,” Mr Guy says.
The refreshed action plan reflects 46 completed or reassigned milestones and 38 new actions for the region. The region’s original action plan was launched in October 2015.
The action plan is regionally led and is supported by central government and represents a collaboration between local and central government, business and iwi.
The implementation of the plan is overseen by the Bay of Connections with the support from central government’s Regional Growth Programme. The programme aims to increase jobs, income and investment in regional New Zealand. More information can be found at: www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/regions-cities/regional-growth-programme/bop
New regulations gazetted today will help revolutionise the way New Zealand’s commercial fisheries are managed and monitored, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
The regulations require the use of geospatial position reporting (GPR), e-logbooks, and cameras across the commercial fishing industry and are being rolled out from 1 October this year.
“Digital monitoring is going to revolutionise the way we make fisheries management decisions, and help ensure that we are protecting the sustainability of New Zealand’s fisheries. It will give us arguably the most transparent and accountable commercial fishery anywhere in the world,” says Mr Guy.
“This new technology will provide more accurate and up-to-date information allowing us to make quicker and better-informed management decisions.”
Digital monitoring replaces the paper-based catch and effort reporting system for commercial fishing, which was too inefficient. Fishers will be required to provide more detailed information in their reporting and all data will be integrated by MPI so that what is reported can be compared to the GPR data and camera footage.
“The reality of the industry has too often meant that what happens at sea has been out of sight. We expect this new system will act as a significant deterrent to illegal activity, as the information it captures can and will be used by MPI for prosecutions when the rules are broken.”
The first two stages of digital monitoring – GPR and catch reporting via new e-logbooks – will be brought in from 1 October this year, with cameras phased in to each fishery from 1 October 2018.
Trawl vessels 28 metres and over will be using the GPR and e-logbooks from 1 October, representing over 70 percent of the commercial catch volume. All other operators will have a 6 month period to install the new systems.
“This is the biggest change to the commercial fishing industry since the introduction of the Quota Management System, and I have instructed MPI to support the industry to achieve full implementation and compliance over a six-month period.
“By 1 April 2018 all fishing permit holders will be required to be fully compliant with the GPR and e-logbook systems.”
Digital monitoring is part of the Future of our Fisheries programme, which is strengthening the fisheries management system and making it fit-for-the future. The programme also includes ongoing policy work to help ensure sustainable fisheries.
This year’s Budget included a boost of $30.5 million in funding over the next four years to support these improvements.
More information on this new system and the Future of our Fisheries programme is available at www.mpi.govt.nz/futureofourfisheries.
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have announced $17.7 million in funding over the next two years for the Regional Growth Programme as part of Budget 2017.
This is further to the $50 million announced by Prime Minster Bill English in Hawkes Bay today to help the most at-risk young people in regional New Zealand into sustained employment, a key part of the Government’s plan to support the regions.
Through the Programme, the Government is supporting regions to develop economic development action plans specific to their needs.
“New Zealand’s economy is made up of diverse regions, each with their own unique set of natural resources, infrastructure and people with their own ideas on how to lift their region’s social and economic potential,” Mr Bridges says.
“This new funding allows government to continue building its partnerships with the regions, building on the $44 million allocated for Regional Growth Initiatives as part of last year’s budget.
“When the regions do well, New Zealand does well and we are already seeing the fruits of success from the programme in areas like Northland and the Bay of Plenty,” Mr Bridges says.
Over the last three years, the Government has worked with ten regions to identify economic challenges and opportunities. Action plans have been launched for Northland, Bay of Plenty, Tairāwhiti/Gisborne, Manawatū-Whanganui, Hawke’s Bay, and Southland.
Ministers co-launched a refreshed economic strategy with the Canterbury Mayoral Forum in Christchurch last month and tomorrow the West Coast Action Plan will be launched.
“The programme has already supported regions to focus on economic development with more confidence and ambition,” Mr Guy says.
“While improving economic performance can take time, those regions with Action Plans have already started to improve employment and investment. This funding will ensure this good progress continues.”
New changes to update kiwifruit regulations and help future-proof the industry will come into force on 1 August 2017, Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has announced today.
“These changes were announced last year and will help ensure the industry is best structured for future growth,” says Mr Guy.
New amendments to the Kiwifruit Export Regulations will:allow Zespri shareholders to consider setting rules around maximum shareholding and eligibility for dividend payments; clarify the activities Zespri can undertake as a matter of core business; and enhance the independence and transparency of the independent industry regulator, Kiwifruit New Zealand.
“These changes will give Zespri more options for promoting the ownership of its shares by active kiwifruit growers.
“They will give Zespri greater certainty for investing in activities such as research and development and in the marketing of New Zealand-grown kiwifruit, and ensuring that Kiwifruit New Zealand has the skill sets it needs to robustly consider collaborative marketing applications.
“These amendments won’t change the industry’s ‘single desk’ export framework, but will provide more certainty for Zespri’s shareholders and growers.
“These regulatory updates are the Government’s response to the industry’s self-review of its performance through the Kiwifruit Industry Strategy Project.”
Kiwifruit sales from New Zealand have reached record levels with 137.7 million trays sold in the year to March 2017, worth over $2 billion in export revenue. Global sales revenues are forecast to reach $4.5 billion by 2025.
A new Threat Management Plan released today will help protect endangered New Zealand sea lions, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say.
The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan sets out a five-year programme of engagement, targeted research, direct mitigation, and regular monitoring at all known breeding sites.
The New Zealand sea lion is classified as “Nationally Critical” and there are fewer than 12,000 left. Ninety eight per cent of breeding occurs on Campbell and the Auckland Islands, but there are also small populations on the lower South Island and Stewart Island.
“This plan, supported by a government funding package of $2.8 million announced last month, sets out practical actions and measures to mitigate threats to sea lions and will help their recovery,” says Mr Guy.
“The threats to sea lions are varied and no single factor is solely responsible for the decline in sea lion numbers.
“While disease and commercial fishing are the greatest threats for sea lions at the Auckland Islands, incidents involving humans, such as shootings, are a greater threat to sea lions on New Zealand’s South Island and Stewart Island. Poor habitat and pups getting stuck in holes are the greatest threats on Campbell Island.
“Management of commercial fishing interactions with sea lions will remain a key focus for MPI. A new Technical Advisory Group has made recommendations on the Operational Plan for the Southern Squid fishery which is currently being reviewed.
“Fishers are keen to do the right thing and avoid bycatch. Sea Lion Exclusion Devices (SLEDs) have been effective in reducing sea lion captures and there will be further research into their operation.”
Ms Barry says a community liaison officer will be employed to help address the human threats, facilitate growth of the population and foster a positive reaction to having more sea lions on the New Zealand coastline.
“This officer will develop and implement a community education campaign to help prepare people for more sea lions returning to the South Island, and help them appreciate how precious and vulnerable sea lions are.
“Another key action of the Plan will be to carry out more research into the disease Klebsiella pneumoniae, and work out ways of mitigating the effects of this disease.
“We already have a fine example of kiwi No: 8 wire ingenuity in ‘Planks for Pups’ – a simple but effective measure to save pups that fall into holes at breeding sites on the subantarctic islands. The holes are deep and steep sided and without the planks to climb out on the pups can’t feed and either starve to death or drown.
“Other practical steps will include regular monitoring of all four breeding sites including more frequent monitoring on Campbell Island - the second largest breeding colony - and developing more solutions to reduce pup mortality on Campbell Island,” Ms Barry says.
The New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Threat Management Plan will continue to involve partnership with Ngāi Tahu as a Treaty Partner and stakeholder groups.
New mechanisms to weave mātauranga Māori throughout each workstream will be developed in partnership with whānau, hapū and iwi, something which has been absent from recovery plans in the past.
A New Zealand sea lion/rāpoka Forum and an Advisory Group have been established to aid in prioritisation of the annual work plan to support the NZSL TMP.
The first export consignments of chilled meat have left New Zealand shores bound for China as part of a six month trial, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has announced today.
“The air-freighted consignments from Alliance Group and Greenlea Premier Meats mark a significant step towards enabling permanent access for New Zealand chilled meat to China,” says Mr Guy.
“Chilled meat is a premium, high value and high growth product so this is great news for farmers, producers and the wider red meat industry. It’s also welcome news for Chinese consumers.
“These are the first of many more shipments expected to be exported to China as part of the trial, which is a big step forward for our work to expand access to China for a range of meat products.
“New Zealand produces high quality chilled meat, and this trial is an exciting opportunity to add to our already significant frozen meat exports to China. This is the kind of product that will end up in high-end retail stores and white table cloth restaurants.”
New Zealand’s frozen red meat exports to China represented $1.14 billion in trade for the year ended 31 March 2017.
The start of the trial adds to recent successes, such as the agreement of formal access for New Zealand bovine blood products last week.
The chilled meat trial initially involves ten New Zealand meat premises.
“The meat industry and MPI are working hard to ensure the trial is a success and access can be opened up to all eligible premises at the end of the six-month period,” says Mr Guy.
“The trial is another demonstration of the very strong positive relationship we share with China.
“The rapidly increasing air links with China will also help with this trade. Since 2012 the number of services Chinese airlines can offer each week under arrangements between our countries has risen from 7 to 59.”
Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy have today launched the latest investor guides to New Zealand’s Food and Beverage Industry, showing a strong and diversified sector.
The guides contain analysis of trends and opportunities within the industry which can be used to attract investment, assist with business strategy and guide government policy.
“The food and beverage sector is the cornerstone of the New Zealand economy. It employs directly or indirectly nearly one in five New Zealand workers and generates $29 billion in exports, representing over half of our merchandise export earnings,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Government is committed to growing and diversifying New Zealand’s economy and these guides show potential investors that innovation is alive and well in our food and beverage sector.
“We also have a wide range of emerging growth categories within the sector, including infant formula and dairy nutritionals, a growing range of products in the snacking category, yoghurt, UHT milk, avocados and processed chicken.
“These emerging categories are helping drive long term export growth across the sector and in turn are helping further strengthen New Zealand’s economy, and provide new jobs, including in the regions,” Mr Bridges says.
The research within the guides has been compiled from a wide range of sources. Around 265 firms are profiled, of which 96 are in the increasingly innovative processed foods sector.
“These reports show New Zealand producers are successfully adding value and creating premium products,” says Mr Guy.
“It shows there has been billions of dollars in investment in recent years towards developing or extending value added categories, at new packaging and branding and new product development. This will help towards our goal of doubling the value of primary sector exports by 2025.
“We’re making good use of our competitive advantages, such as our relative proximity to Asian markets, good climate and fertile soils. At the same time, there are plenty of opportunities for more innovation to drive growth.
“The Government is supporting this through research and development. The Primary Growth Partnership in particular has $759 million co-invested by industry and Government towards 22 cutting edge projects in the primary sector.
“Budget 2017 also made more money available for Callaghan Innovation’s Research and Development Growth Grants which support innovative Kiwi companies in bringing their products and ideas to the market sooner.”
The new guides are available at www.mbie.govt.nz/info-services/sectors-industries/food-beverage/information-project.