Waikato Regional Council is bidding for around $120 million of government funding to fast track projects that would put more than 1000 people into a range of short and long-term work opportunities.
Much of the funding bid is to upgrade critical flood protection infrastructure, but the council has also made a bid for more than $39 million to support 20 projects focused on protecting and enhancing water quality, biodiversity, soils and coastal areas.
Collectively, the projects would see 1000 kilometres of streambanks fenced off, 4.3 million native plants put in the ground, 140,000 poplars planted on eroding land, the retirement of 4500 hectares of land, and the management of plant and animal pests over more than 24,000 hectares.
“This is about embracing community-led initiatives,” Council Chair Russ Rimmington said. “Many of these projects already have good buy-in from iwi, community groups and individual landowners but with the pressure on to have a zero per cent rates impact, our council will struggle to fund this type of work on our own.”
The work will not only continue to improve the health of local environments but support smaller contractors and suppliers (e.g. fencers, arborists, pest control specialists, nurseries and hardware/rural supply stores) in rural areas and small towns where jobs are needed most.