$5 million boost for Transforming Taranaki scheme

A $5 million Government funding boost will accelerate completion of the Transforming Taranaki riparian management programme, following more than 25 years of fencing and planting of waterways by Taranaki farmers.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday announced the Taranaki Regional Council scheme was one of 22 Council-submitted regional projects awarded a total of $62 million from the Government’s Jobs for Nature Programme.

Council chair David MacLeod says the funding is fantastic news for the region. It will help farmers who have shown commitment to implementing riparian plans to complete their planting.

“Riparian plan holders have voluntarily committed their time, effort and money to fencing and planting since the scheme began 27 years ago. They should be incredibly proud of the work they have done and the impact it is having on our water quality and landscape,” Mr MacLeod says.

“This new funding will significantly reduce costs and allow many landowners to make that final push to the finish line.”

Close to one million native plants will be distributed to Taranaki riparian plan holders in 2021, with the goal of planting 650km of waterways. A record of nearly 600,000 plants were distributed this financial year, making a total of more than 6.2 million since the scheme began.

As at 30th December 2019, a total of 87.4% (14,012 kms) of the region’s streams were fenced and 75.6% (9,270km) of streambank that required planting or vegetation were protected by vegetation.

The $5 million funding is also expected to provide employment for more than 100 people over the life of the project.

Mr MacLeod says the environmental benefits of the programme are improved water quality and an increase in biodiversity, with the plants providing habitat for native birds and cover for aquatic species.

An independent NIWA report last year found the ecological health of Taranaki rivers and streams was either improving or not showing any significant changes. At many sites, testing showed the best results since monitoring began in 1995.

Mr MacLeod says the Council encourages landowners to push on with their riparian plans and take this opportunity to bring their properties up to speed before new regulations come in.

Council Land Management Officers will be in touch with riparian plan holders over the coming months however if they have any questions they’re encouraged to call the Council on 0800 736 222.