Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson visited Agpac Ltd’s Plasback, congratulated them on the scheme’s successful recycling of agricultural plastic, and announced Plasback’s reaccreditation as a Product Stewardship Scheme.
“Plasback collects plastic, such as silage wrap, irrigation pipes and fertiliser bags, from the agriculture and horticulture sectors and processes it into new products, such as Tuffboard, an innovative plywood replacement used on farms,” Mr Simpson says.
“Plasback provides farmers with an easy and practical way to recycle their plastic waste. Since 2010, when Plasback first became an accredited Product Stewardship Scheme, over 2500 farmers across New Zealand have signed up to have their plastics collected, and Plasback has recycled more than 6500 tonnes of plastic - equivalent to 650,000 sacks of potatoes.”
Product stewardship is the responsible management of the environmental impact of a product. It aims to reduce the impact of manufactured products at all stages of the product life cycle.
“Plasback provides twin benefits to the environment, as it reduces the harm associated with burning and burying plastic, and it reduces the need to extract more raw materials for new products. Business initiatives such as Plasback promote the sustainable use of resources and encourage producers and suppliers of products to take a whole life-cycle view of their products.”
“Under the Waste Minimisation Act, I can accredit product stewardship schemes that meet the criteria for reducing waste and environmental harm. A product stewardship scheme will only be accredited after it has been thoroughly assessed to ensure accreditation criteria have been met. In turn, accredited schemes have to report to me on their objectives and targets.”
Hohepa Hawke’s Bay has been awarded nearly $175,000 from the Government’s Community Environment Fund to restore and increase a wetland adjacent to the Taipo Stream in Napier, Associate Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
Hohepa Hawke’s Bay is owned by the Hohepa Homes Trust, which has provided homes, education and vocational services in Hawke’s Bay to people with intellectual disabilities since 1957.
“The wetland is an important natural habitat for many native and endangered species. The two-year Lower Taipo Stream Environmental Enhancement project will increase the wetland by at least 6 hectares, providing additional habitat for the nationally endangered matuku or Australasian bittern,” Mr Simpson says.
“Planting appropriate streambank grass plantings and other vegetation and creating better streambank slopes will improve in-stream conditions, including lower water temperature from greater shading, and provide habitat preferred by whitebait, keeping eggs moist and protected from UV light.
“The project aims to increase public awareness of the importance of preserving our precious wetland habitat. Information kiosks and interpretive signage will be located at strategic points along the proposed wetland zone. Local school children will be involved in the wetland development and use the opportunity to learn about practical environmental enhancement.
“The Lower Taipo Stream Environmental Enhancement project will also provide paid and voluntary work opportunities for up to 25 people with intellectual disabilities, who will be involved in land preparation, pest control, collecting seeds and growing eco-sourced native plants, planting, care and maintenance of the wetland.”
The project will work closely with iwi, regional councils, the Department of Conservation and landowners throughout the region in undertaking the environmental protection and restoration work. Lotteries, Fonterra and the Department of Conservation have provided the project with additional financial support.
“This is a great undertaking by Hohepa Hawke’s Bay, creating a win-win opportunity through preserving natural habitat for endangered species, raising New Zealanders’ awareness of environmental issues and supporting people with intellectual disabilities in our local community.”
The final phase of a collaborative project protecting and enhancing fresh water and coastal ecosystems along the Whangawehi Stream on the Mahia Peninsula is being supported by $145,000 from the Community Environment Fund, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson says.
“The Government is committed to working with local communities, councils and iwi to sustain our waterways and ecosystems. In the upper Whangawehi catchment, people are working together to mitigate the impact from all land users in the catchment, including a new waste water plant, and to coordinate environmental work and education in the community,” Mr Simpson says.
“This final year of the Whangawehi Catchment Restoration Project involves improving water quality in the head waters of the Whangawehi catchment by fencing and planting 10.2 hectares of riverside habitat and creating connectivity between the different ecosystems already protected.
“On Okepuha Station 23,000 native trees will be planted along the margin of the Whangawehi Stream inside 4 kilometres of stock exclusion fencing. Ten newly purchased traps will be laid out within the 10.2ha fenced area to reduce pest pressure and allow the return of indigenous biodiversity in the Whangawehi upper catchment.”
The project has previously received Government funding from both the Community Environment Fund (in 2015) and Te Mana o Te Wai (2016-17) for projects in the lower and middle Whangawehi catchment areas.
“Over the past seven years the project has achieved significant improvements in water quality in the Whangawehi Stream and in protecting native plants and animals. The community has seen increased schools of whitebait, more abundant long fin eels and a 15 per cent increase in the recreational status of the water quality.
“I was delighted that the Group was rewarded by winning the Supreme Award at the recent 2017 Green Ribbon awards as well as the award for Caring for our Water.
“The Government’s target of 90 per cent swimmable rivers and lakes by 2040 is going to require 1000km of rivers be improved every year for the next 23 years. The Whangawehi Catchment Management Group is a powerful example of what is possible. I look forward to the completion of this final part of the restoration and the benefits it will bring to local iwi and communities.”
Love Kaipara has been awarded nearly $135,000 from the Waste Minimisation Fund to support moving Kaipara communities towards zero waste, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced.
“Love Kaipara is leading the way in encouraging behavioural change throughout Kaipara through promotional advertising campaigns and school education programmes. It is establishing important relationships with the local community, and empowering people of all ages to minimise waste and care for their environment,” Mr Simpson says.
The aim of the project is to educate people about recycling and help them to reduce the number of recyclables unnecessarily going to landfill and to reduce littering and illegal dumping of rubbish. It will encourage individuals, community groups, businesses and organisations to embrace the zero waste philosophy.
“This funding will enable Love Kaipara to spread important messages about waste minimisation throughout Kaipara by delivering educational programmes at local schools and by communicating to audiences through print and radio advertising and social media. Love Kaipara will support the Northland Field Days in their endeavours to become a zero waste event.
“This project provides a great example of how passionate organisations in the regional community, such as Love Kaipara, can utilise Government funding to support their waste minimisation initiatives, which have the potential to positively change the behaviour of an entire district.”
The Waste Minimisation Fund provides financial support to projects that reduce environmental harm and provide social, economic and cultural benefits. It is funded from a levy introduced by the National-led Government in 2009, which is charged on waste disposed of at landfills to discourage waste and to fund recycling initiatives. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.
The Forest Bridge Trust has been awarded $300,000 from the Community Environment Fund, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
“The vision of The Forest Bridge Trust is to create a connected landscape of healthy forest and flourishing indigenous wildlife from the Kaipara Harbour in the west to the Pacific Ocean in the east. They plan to achieve that vision by connecting up bush remnants, fencing, planting and doing weed and pest control throughout the area,” Mr Simpson says.
“The Forest Remnant Protection and Connectivity – Hoteo Catchment project will fence off valuable native bush blocks on farms in the Hoteo River catchment, north of Auckland. The target is for a minimum of 2.5 kilometres of fencing each year.
Advice about animal pest control will be given through a series of community animal pest control workshops. By the end of the three-year project, the Trust aims for 20,000 hectares to have an animal pest control plan being carried out to best-practice standards.
The Trust will also train children from 15 local schools on how to control introduced pests and to track their results using the University of Auckland’s CatchIT system. It hopes that 60 per cent of the families involved will continue to use a trap on their properties and to record the catches, and that 30 per cent of parents will attend a follow up workshop.
“The Government is committed to Predator Free 2050 – a plan to eradicate rats, stoats and possums from New Zealand and protect precious native species. By encouraging local farming families to take an active stewardship role in trapping and recording catch data we will continue to build interest and enthusiasm for pest control. Longer term, widespread local participation could become the community norm with great potential benefits in reduction of pests.”
“It’s great to see the local landowners, communities and councils working together to create a lasting legacy of a pest-free forest where native plants, birds and animals can thrive and be enjoyed by everyone.”
The Community Environment Fund provides funding so New Zealanders are empowered to take environmental action. The Fund support projects that strengthen partnerships, raise public awareness of environmental issues, and encourage community participation in environmental initiatives. Since 2010 the fund has awarded more than $12 million to environmental projects.
Taranaki-based Te Whenua Tōmuri Trust Board has been granted over $130,000 from the Community Environment Fund towards its ‘Maru Wai Matara – Kaitiaki Taiao’ project, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
“The Trust will provide 12 hapū and marae with resourcing, training and mentoring in environmental monitoring and sustainable management. The hapū and marae will be matched with 12 local kura kaupapa and schools to help collect seasonal monitoring data and undertake activities such as riverside planting,” Mr Simpson says.
“The project will also help groups learn about sustainable practices such as permaculture and waste minimisation. They will develop māra kai using traditional practices, with the goal of reconnecting them to their environment through these activities.”
The Te Whenua Tōmuri Trust Board, formed in 2013, is committed to sustainable community development and well-being in Taranaki and beyond. It aims to inspire and protect communities and their natural environment through sustainable techniques.
The Community Environment Fund provides funding so New Zealanders are empowered to take environmental action. The Fund supports projects that strengthen partnerships, raise public awareness of environmental issues, and encourage community participation in environmental initiatives. Since 2010 the fund has awarded more than $12 million to environmental projects.
Further information on the Community Environment Fund is available from www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/community-environment-fund.
The Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund has awarded $150,000 to the Waikato Environment Centre to help expand its Kaivolution programme, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
“The goal of Kaivolution is to reduce edible food waste going to landfill, and redistribute it to charities and community groups. Since Kaivolution launched in October 2014, nearly 245,000 kilograms of food have been redistributed in the Waikato community,” Mr Simpson says
“This funding will support the purchase of suitable vehicles, a fork lift and a chiller room that will allow Kaivolution to meet demand from a growing number of food donors, community groups and food recipients in the region.
“Redistributing food that is good enough to eat, but not good enough to sell, provides a sustainable solution for managing food surplus and reduces strain on landfills.
“This is a great example of local businesses and communities working together. It’s good for the environment, good for our community, and good for businesses who work with sustainability values in mind.”
The Waikato Environment Centre also receives $45,000 annually from the Community Environment Fund, to support its activities and services that empower Waikato communities to improve their environmental quality.
The Waste Minimisation Fund was established in 2009, and is funded by a levy of $10 per tonne charged on waste disposed of at landfills. The fund’s purpose is to boost New Zealand’s performance and innovation in waste minimisation by reducing waste and increasing the recovery of useful resources from waste. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.
Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson has visited Interbloc NZ and Envirocon to see first-hand how their cutting-edge facility turns leftover concrete into a primary resource.
“The Envirocon product stewardship scheme provides a standard, sustainable and credible waste management solution to the ready-mix concrete and construction industries,” Mr Simpson says.
Leftover wet concrete is delivered to the Envirocon facility in Auckland, where it is upcycled by Interbloc NZ into stackable concrete blocks. A unique collection system stops the waste concrete from setting so it can be used to manufacture the blocks, instead of being dumped at landfill. The Interbloc modular wall system provides the flexibility of bricks with the speed and durability of precast construction.
“Members of the industry-based voluntary scheme improve the organisation’s environmental performance by diverting waste concrete in its wet form, which significantly reduces the resources required to process the waste stream.”
“Envirocon aims to increase its diversion rates to 80,000 tonnes of concrete by 2022 as more construction businesses become aware of the environmental opportunities offered by the Envirocon product stewardship scheme.”
Envirocon is now investigating in-yard collection facilities so delivery trucks can recycle wet waste concrete faster and more easily.
“Huge progress has been made by members of this voluntary product stewardship scheme. It's a great example of forward thinking businesses being innovative and using a waste stream as a resource.
“The Government is keen for businesses and communities to step up and take responsibility for the waste they produce and I congratulate the Envirocon scheme members for making a positive difference. I encourage other organisations and industries to review their manufacturing processes so they too can receive the environmental and economic benefits of product stewardship.”
Bringing together data from across government, a study looking into the lives of premature babies will help front-line doctors and parents make better informed choices about the care of their children, Statistics Minister Scott Simpson says.
The study, undertaken by researchers from Capital and Coast District Health Board and the University of Otago in Wellington, uses Stats NZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure to look at a whole range of life events – including before-school checks, social development, health conditions, and educational qualifications – to understand the issues and enable better decisions and services to meet needs.
‘Linked data is critical for medical experts and researchers to understand the life course of premature babies, as well as giving parents a better understanding of what the future holds for their children,” Mr Simpson says.
“By looking at health, education, employment and social data of premature babies, and comparing them with other births, researchers can get a good picture of what happens to these babies as they progress to school and into adult life.”
The research team is looking closely at health, education, employment and social data including hospitalisation rates, attendance at school, special needs support, high school exam results, future health issues and employment. Full results are due to be released later in 2017.
The Integrated Data Infrastructure platform was established in 2012 as part of the government drive to improve evidence-based policy making and to promote the reuse of high value publicly held data.
Stats NZ has produced a short video about the research: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-YgtrgwFrY
A further $145,000 will be invested in the restoration of native beech forests, boosting the Government’s efforts to protect our native species, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
The funding from the Government’s Community Environment Fund will go to the Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCG) and the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust (WRT), to help transform previously Wilding infested sites to indigenous forest.
The three-year Wakatipu Beech Seeding Project aims to restore natural heritage in the wilding-conifer-infested areas of the Wakatipu Basin and its tributaries around Queenstown, by encouraging community planting on public land, and establishing a food source for native birds.
“Community-based, large scale re-forestation to pre-human native forest cover is ambitious and challenging. So it’s great to see these local communities coming together to protect New Zealand’s unique natural heritage,” Mr Simpson says.
“Without initiatives like the Wakatipu Beech Seeding Project we would be in danger of losing our indigenous trees and plants to the fast growing and tenacious imported exotics such as pinus radiata that have invaded and degraded many areas over the last 100 years.”
WCG and WRT will work collaboratively with the Queenstown Restoration Trust, DOC, QEII National Trust and Scion to develop efficient methods and protocols to collect and store indigenous seeds from the region, develop seeding protocols and test new techniques that can aid community-based large-scale seeding into dead wilding stands.
The project will train community-based volunteers in seed collection and sowing and how to monitor and record results of the re-forestation projects. The project will share its learnings with community groups both regionally and nationally to help them undertake projects of a similar nature in their own area.
“The ability to show success is vital to gain community involvement for restoration projects. In this project, community members will be able to record and disseminate data to report on the development of the restoration project by using a citizen science based monitoring framework.”
The groups plan to develop a smartphone-based monitoring application to allow for easy recording, automatic upload and processing, and analysis of field data, with results being shared with local communities.
The Wakatipu Wilding Conifer Control Group (WCG) was established in 2009 and is committed to control wilding confers in the Wakatipu Basin to prevent future negative impacts on the natural biological heritage in their area.
The Wakatipu Reforestation Trust (WRT) focus is to restore natural heritage in the Wakatipu area by encouraging community planting on public land, and establishing a food source for native birds