Horizons welcomes funding announcement

Horizons Regional Council is extremely pleased to learn today that it is the recipient of nearly $1 million from central government’s Provincial Growth Fund to plant 1.35 million trees this winter.

The $970,600 funding announcement was made by Forestry and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today in Ohakune, along with an announcement regarding a $10 million loan for a high speed gondola at Mt Ruapehu.  

Horizons chair and Accelerate25 lead team member Bruce Gordon says the council has been working on an additional planting programme proposal since central government announced its goal to plant one billion trees across the country.

“While the One Billion Trees programme application process is being finalised for next year, we are really excited that there is an opportunity to get funding for planting this winter,” he says.

“We appreciate the faith central government is showing in our programmes through providing us with this funding.

“Today’s announcement will make a significant contribution to the Mānuka and land optimisation opportunities identified in the Manawatū-Whanganui Economic Action Plan as well as provide environmental benefits to the region.

Horizons group manager natural resources and partnerships Dr Jon Roygard says the council’s planting programme includes planting 1.35 million trees over 1,000 hectares of erosion-prone farm land throughout the region by the end of September 2018.

“We are now on track to plant approximately 1.35 million trees into forestry, made up of over 800,000 Mānuka plants and the rest being predominantly radiata pine seedlings and a small amount of alternative species. There will be many benefits of this scale of planting, including erosion control in our hill country and improving water quality by reducing sediment in rivers.”

“We have 30-40 landowners lined up ready to go primarily through our Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI) and are confident that we will see all the trees planted by the end of winter. We acknowledge and thank the landowners for getting involved, making their land available and putting in their own contribution to the forests being established.”

Dr Roygard says another component to the Provincial Growth Fund announcement is funding to enable forestry assessments to be completed.

“These assessments are to enable landowners who are considering forestry on their farm to have customised analysis completed, providing further information for decision making. We encourage any landowners who are considering forestry as part of their farming system to contact Horizons’ land team via land@horizons.govt.nz to discuss this further.”

To find out more information about Horizons’ planting programmes, including their winter #PlantInOurRegion campaign, see www.horizons.govt.nz