[30 November/Stuff]

The Coalition Government has announced that farmers will be able to access government grants to plant trees on their properties as part of a new fund. Forestry Minister Shane Jones and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have launched the One Billion Trees Fund, part of the government’s plan to plant at least one billion trees by 2028.  Led by Te Uru Rākau – Forestry New Zealand, the fund has two types of grant available with total funding of $238 million. Direct landholder grants of upto $118 million will go towards planting and establishing trees and native regeneration, with grant amounts varying depending on the type of planting planned. Top-ups for items such as fencing or ecological restoration are available with direct landholder grants. The programme also includes $120 million for partnership projects that aim to reduce the barriers to tree planting through innovation, research and sector development initiatives which are available for three years. Projects likely to be supported include labour and workforce development; advice and information for landowners; catchment-based or landscape scale tree planting and restoration projects to deliver better erosion control, freshwater quality and biodiversity; science and research; and seedlings and nursery production. Partners will typically have to co-fund at least 50 per cent of commercial projects.