The Government is allocating $240 million from the Provincial Growth Fund for two initiatives aimed at getting more trees planted as part of the One Billion Trees programme.

A $118m grants scheme will enable private landowners, government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and iwi to apply for funds to cover the cost of planting and establishing trees and regenerating indigenous forest.

“These grants will be available from later this year and we‘re aiming to encourage the planting of natives, trees for erosion control, and environmentally-focused planting – all ensuring we have the right tree in the right place for the right purpose,” Forestry Minister Shane Jones said today.

The grants would result in around 60 million new trees being planted over the next three years, said Jones, who is also the Regional Economic Development Minister and responsible for the $1 billion-a-year Provincial Growth Fund.

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Separately, a new $120m three-year partnership fund would create a closer working relationship between Te Uru Rākau (the Forestry Service) and regional councils, NGOs, training organisations, Māori landowners and community groups.

“This approach will allow us to leverage co-funding opportunities and existing know-how and experience,” Jones said.

“We‘ll be looking at promoting innovation, securing sufficient labour to get trees in the ground and providing support and advice to landowners on how they can improve land use.”

Forestry was a fundamental part of the Government‘s regional development programme and it was strengthening its support for planting in areas where there were limited commercial drivers for investment, and where wider social, environmental or regional development benefits could be achieved, Jones said.

The funding brings the total so far for the One Billion Trees Programme from the Provincial Growth Fund to around $485m. That includes funding for joint ventures and the expansion of the Hill Country Erosion programme.