COVID-19 recovery: Greens call for investment in people and nature

As Aotearoa starts focusing on the economic recovery from COVID-19 the Green Party is calling for an economic stimulus package fit for the 21st century that puts people, climate, and nature first with significant investment in nature based jobs.

“An economic response fit for the long term challenges we face as a nation means investing in nature as Aotearoa’s essential infrastructure”, said Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson.

“This will make sure generations now and in the future have healthy streams and rivers. It ensures native birds and wildlife are thriving, and wetlands and bush are regenerated.

The focus on nature based jobs follows the Green Party’s proposal last week for a record investment in rapid electric trains to transform travel between towns and cities across the country.

“We’re proposing a $1 billion package over three years to rapidly scale up investment in people and nature. The proposed package will support local communities, iwi, businesses, NGOs, councils and DOC to employ thousands of people across New Zealand to restore and look after our natural landscapes, native bush, birds, waterways and coast.”

Green Party environment spokesperson Eugenie Sage said the package draws on some great ideas coming from councils, iwi and environmental organisations over the last few weeks for kick starting the economic recovery with jobs that give nature a much needed helping hand.

“Nature based jobs can be started relatively quickly and make use of skilled people who have lost jobs in regions such as Queenstown. An investment of this scale would see a major increase in efforts to turn around water pollution through fencing and planting beside streams, restoring wetlands, and coastal margins; tackling wilding conifers and other plant and weed pests.

“This package would see more native plant nurseries creating jobs growing seedlings and more work with farmers restoring and looking after rivers, estuaries and wetlands. It would see more large scale pest and weed control from wallabies to wildings to reduce their range and help restore the dawn chorus around Aotearoa.

“Investing in nature-based jobs can see meaningful jobs created more quickly than spending on big infrastructure like new motorways. Most of the funding will go directly to employing people – the tools needed for wetland restoration such as spades and seedlings are far cheaper than big excavators and asphalt.

“This investment creates thriving native forests and wetlands, assets that last centuries and suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It will avoid future pest control costs, better buffer coastal areas from sea level rise and provide corridors for birds to come back to neighbourhoods.

“These work opportunities are well suited to those who have worked outdoors such as tourist guides currently out of work, have people and project management skills or who want to quickly retrain and get their hands dirty helping nature.”

Summary of the proposed package:

  • $1 billion invested in nature-based jobs over 3 years.
  • Initial estimates suggest it would create 6000-7000 jobs (FTEs) directly with many more through flow on support to local suppliers and contractors.
  • Funding would be made available to support iwi, councils, NGOs, businesses wanting to undertake shovel ready nature restoration or predator free projects.
  • Funding would be divvied up across regions based on the level of impact from COVID and the need to restore nature so those areas with more people out of paid work would get more support.
  • Training hubs would be established in regions to quickly retrain people as needed.

More information:

  • $100 million would be available through a 50% wage subsidy per employee for councils, community organisations, iwi and government agencies to employ people in a revamped Taskforce Green scheme on projects which meet scheme criteria.
  • Projects would provide a boost for fencing, pest control, planting and weed control contractors; enabling them to employ more staff and expand their businesses; and allow new businesses to establish. Many skilled people will be without jobs as a result of business disruption associated with COVID 19. The proposed package creates funding and opportunities.
  • Organisations such as iwi and NGOs could apply to be involved and keep their staffing and structures in place while working alongside DOC or councils to deliver the work; such as trapping pests and looking after kiwi.
  • Iwi could seek funding to support restoration projects that they’ve already planned and hit go with the funding now available.
  • Predator Free 2050 Ltd could be expanded to more regions and rapidly scaled up in others to supercharge landscape scale predator control and backyard and community trapping efforts to bring birdlife back to towns, cities and farms.
  • Planned work to upgrade tracks could get underway quicker, especially in areas close to cities and towns so more New Zealanders can get out into nature close to home and maybe even see a real kiwi.
  • As a lot of this work is outdoors where physical distancing is easier, more people could stay employed with the appropriate safety gear and guidelines while we move between different COVID-19 alert levels. 

 

Petition

Let’s ditch fossil fuels once and for all

When all our energy comes from the sun, the wind, and the flow of rivers, we won’t need to burn the fossil fuels that cause the climate crisis. Our...
SIGN ON

Petition

Support our Poverty Action Plan

Our Poverty Action Plan will completely change the way we support people in New Zealand so when people ask for help, they get it. It overhauls the ...
SIGN ON

Action

Local Events

We have activists across Aotearoa / New Zealand who are working hard to build a brighter future for our kids and grandkids. This page lists upcomin...
Take Action

Action

It's time to pay our essential workers a dignified wage

Our essential workers are the heroes getting us through the COVID-19 crisis, yet for too long they’ve been...
Take Action

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics and seven single-use plastic items

Following the success of the phase out of single-use plastic shopping bags, the Government now has plans to phase out more single-use and problem p...
Read More

Story

Government to regulate environmentally harmful plastic packaging, tyres, e-waste

The Government is stepping up action to deal with environmentally harmful products – including plastic packaging, tyres and e-waste – before they b...
Read More

Oceans

Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet. Home to a vast array of species and delicate ecosystems, and a source of kai and recreation. Our marine env...
Read More

Reducing waste

There is no waste in nature; only cycles of resource use. The Green Party wants our communities and economy to run on the same no-waste principle. ...
Read More

Story

Government steps up action on waste - funds recycling infrastructure and expands levy scheme

As part of a broader plan to reduce the increasing amount of rubbish ending up in New Zealand’s landfills, the Government is to fund new recycling ...
Read More

Story

Green Party unveils Clean Energy Plan

The Green Party is today unveiling part one of its plan for a fossil-fuel free Aotearoa, including an immediate ban on new industrial coal boilers.
Read More

Latest Climate Change Announcements

Clean Energy Plan

The Green Party has always been clear that climate change needs to be tackled now, and we’ve done more in the last three years than the past 30 yea...
Read More

Story

Govt progress on climate change essential, risk assessment shows

The release of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment shows that the progress this Government has made to solve the climate crisis is essentia...
Read More

2020

Clean energy

We know we need to go further and faster on climate action, which is why we’re proposing a plan to kick-start the transition to end the use of foss...
READ MORE

Climate change

The Green Party wants future generations to know we did everything we could to prevent the climate crisis. Unfortunately, previous governments lef...
Read More

Story

Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA

The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will ...
Read More

Story

Greens welcome new ACC zero carbon plans, call for ruling out any future fossil fuel investment

The Green Party welcomes the ACC’s announcement to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 but emphasises the need to go further, and faster to t...
Read More

Latest Conservation Announcements

Story

Significant investment in Raukūmara Pae Maunga to prevent Raukūmara forest collapse

An iwi-Crown approach programme to restore the Raukūmara forest on the East Coast of the North Island and boost employment opportunities for whānau...
Read More

Story

New strategy to ensure nature thrives

The Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today launched Te Mana o te Taiao, the Aotearoa New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy - a way forward that en...
Read More

Story

Major funding boost for Predator Free Banks Peninsula

A pest free Banks Peninsula/Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū is one step closer with a $5.11 million boost to accelerate this project and create jobs, announ...
Read More

Story

Stronger Green voice needed next term to stop more mining on or under conservation land

The Green Party is strongly opposed to MBIE’s decision to grant mining permits under public conservation land in the Coromandel.
Read More

Story

Rakitū Island declared latest predator free island

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today declared Rakitū Island, off the coast of Aotea/Great Barrier Island, predator free.
Read More

Story

Turning the tide for hoiho/yellow-eyed penguin

Government, iwi, NGOs, and rehabilitation groups are working together to turn around the fortunes of the nationally endangered hoiho/yellow-eyed pe...
Read More