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Jobs for Nature

Man planting in New Zealand native bush.

Jobs for Nature is a $1.3 billion programme of broad environmental funding. It is part of the COVID-19 recovery package. The programme is intended to run for four years. 

Find out how to apply for:

Jobs for Nature is a $1.3 billion programme that manages funding across multiple government agencies for the benefit of the environment, people and the regions. It is part of the COVID-19 recovery package. The programme is intended to run for four years.

Programme purpose

  • Provide up to 11,000 jobs and economic support for people and communities across Aotearoa, while ensuring environmental benefits.
  • Get money and support as quickly as possible to people and communities to assist the COVID-19 recovery. 

What the funding is being used for

  • Improving freshwater (eg, fencing of waterways, water reticulation and riparian management).
  • Improving biosecurity (eg, weed and pest control).  
  • Enhancing biodiversity on public and private land (eg, planting native species).

See map showing jobs for nature funded projects.

Who is involved

The Ministries involved are the:

  • Ministry for the Environment
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
  • Department of Conservation
  • Ministry for Primary Industries
  • Land Information New Zealand.

About the $1.3 billion in funding

Budget 2020 allocated $1.1 billion with another $202 million made available from previous complementary funding to make a total of $1.3 billion.

Funding breakdown

The $1.3 billion investment in jobs for environmentally focused initiatives is managed by different government ministries as described below.

  • $433 million plus a further $67 million for new jobs in regional environmental projects targeted at freshwater improvement (Ministry for the Environment-led)
  • $315 million biosecurity, including weed and pest control (Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Department of Conservation (DOC) and Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)). 
  • $200 million for ‘Kaimahi for Nature’ funding (DOC)
  • $154 million for new jobs enhancing biodiversity on public and private land (DOC), of which $73 million is for identified freshwater initiatives.

This is not all the funding related to environmental outcomes and job creation. In addition the following funding will be available from July 2020:

  • the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has up to $100 million for fencing waterways, water reticulation and riparian management
  • changes to the One Billion Trees (OBT) funding criteria makes around $35 million available for similar actions, including approximately $10 million for catchment groups. 

Strategic oversight of the programme

The Ministers responsible for the Jobs for Nature programme are the:

  • Minister for the Environment
  • Minister of Local Government
  • Minister of Agriculture/Biosecurity
  • Minister of Regional Economic Development/Forestry
  • Minister for Climate Change
  • Minister of Conservation/Land Information. 

The Ministers have strategic oversight of the Jobs for Nature programme supported by a reference group.

Reference group

A Jobs for Nature Reference Group has been established with a mix of central government and non-central government members and an independent chair (see below). 

The Reference Group’s role is to support the Ministers by providing oversight and assurance of the whole Jobs for Nature programme. 

The Reference Group is advisory: it does not make decisions, these will continue to rest with Ministers and agencies as appropriate. 

The work of the Reference Group includes the following.

  • Advice to Ministers on when and where funding is made available. 
  • The monitoring of project deliverables.
  • Reporting on project outcomes.
  • Co-ordination between agencies, stakeholders, and landowners.
  • Advice on how best to engage in each region, in particular with Māori, regional councils, and the primary sector.
  • Advice on communications with stakeholders and identified audiences to ensure they are aware of:
    • what funding is available
    • how to apply
    • any deadlines or timing constraints.   

Doug Leeder has been appointed the independent chair of the Reference Group. Doug is currently Chair of Bay of Plenty Regional Council and a board member at Port of Tauranga. He has previously held governance positions at Federated Farmers, East Bay Health Board, NZ Dairy Group, Dairy Insight and Bay Milk Products.