New Zealanders love our unique birds, insects and plants and today’s new funding boost means we can start to really protect them. Budget 2018 provides the largest increase in the Department of Conservation’s budget since 2002 and delivers on our promise to invest significantly in conservation.
As a Green MP I’m delighted there is an additional $181.6 million in operational funding for conservation initiatives over the next four years. This funding will start to turn around the biodiversity crisis, where 82 per cent of native birds are threatened or at risk of extinction.
Our plan backs nature. We will better protect our native birds and other animals so we can once again see species thriving in their natural habitats. After years of neglect and piecemeal funding, Budget 2018 ensures that DOC can plan ahead and target the pests that are devastating the habitats of New Zealand’s unique species.
The fact that both the Coalition Agreement and the Confidence and Supply Agreement included the need to increase conservation funding shows just how central this issue is to the Government’s priorities.
Budget 2018 will lock in ongoing funding for predator-control programmes like the Battle for Our Birds. Instead of DOC having to scramble and shift funding every year from other priorities, this work will now have secure ongoing funding as part of the department’s baseline.
The new funding includes:
- $81.3 million to boost landscape-scale predator control, which is vital for protecting threatened species and habitats
- $76 million set aside for biodiversity initiatives across land, freshwater and marine ecosystems
- $16.2 million for DOC to strengthen its core capability and capacity to deliver on the Government’s priorities and increase work to back New Zealand’s wildlife, plants and landscapes
- $5.5 million to enable better visitor management, by looking at new strategies in areas like transport and waste management
- $2.6 million to fund better protection of the unique landscapes and biodiversity of the Mackenzie Basin.