The programme has just entered its third year after being quickly stood up in 2020 in a great show of collaboration between the local community and Department of Conservation (DoC). During this time 170 people from 43 separate businesses have completed over 70,000 hours of conservation work.
A total budget of $3.78m was committed and the funding support finishes at the end of June 2023.
Development West Coast (DWC) Chief Executive, Heath Milne said “The government has been very clear that, as we are heading out of COVID, at the end of the current funding term in June next year the project will need to stand on its own two feet if it’s going to continue. That was the main driver of the hui in Fox.”
Facilitated by DoC and Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the hui was attended by representatives from key stakeholder groups including tourism business operators, DoC, DWC, Ministry of Social Development (MSD), and MBIE.
Everybody at the workshop agreed that there was a real opportunity to capitalise on the success of the South Westland Job for Nature program and agreed to form a working group to develop a more enduring Job for Nature service.
Rob Stewart of Skydive Franz and Fox said “Our team have learned a lot while working with DoC and this is proving valuable when they are speaking with our skydive clients. They know a lot more about our natural environment which is a real value add to our offering.”
The programme has delivered real conservation benefits including several new species being discovered and walking tracks and other assets have never been in better shape.
Ministry of Social Development’s Regional Commissioner, Craig Churchill, explained that the real success of the Jobs for Nature Programme was that during a very challenging period, it retained full employment for a significant number of people in South Westland and, importantly, kept them connected to their community.
“We believe that if it wasn’t for the success of South Westland’s Jobs for Nature Programme, local businesses would have had to close and their employees would have had to either move away from their community to find work, or come onto a Work and Income Job Seekers Benefit.
The hui resulted in a working group being formed to develop the proposition further.
Facts at a glance
- 170 people have been involved in Jobs for Nature at some point since the start of the programme.
- 43 business partners are currently registered with Jobs for Nature.
- 70,000+ hours completed, equivalent to 45 full time people.
- Over 80 km of tracks upgraded and/or maintained.
- Over 900 ha of weeds controlled.
- Over 11,000 hours of threatened species work including surveys, field monitoring, transmitter replacement.
- Over 12,500 hours in threatened species analysis work including acoustic analysis, camera trap monitoring, data management, species identification.
- Over 2,000 hours of other species practical and analysis work including trap building, acoustic analysis, and data management.
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