The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the government, councils and Kaipara Uri recognises an equal partnership between Kaipara Uri and councils to undertake the Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme, a $300 million, decade-long project that aims to remediate ongoing environmental degradation by halving sediment loss from land to sea.
The programme is predicted to create around 300 new jobs; 200 for direct farm work such as fencing streams and wetlands, establishing water reticulation systems, preparing and planting land, weeding, and hill country stabilisation, and another 100 in the rural sector for nurseries, fencing manufacture, and farm advisory services.
Minister for the Environment David Parker signed the agreement with council and Kaipara Uri programme partners. Joining them at the signing were Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and guests representing numerous community, conservation, hapu and marae groups, as well as the agricultural sector and philanthropic organisations.
As well as the MOU signing, the day also saw the first meeting of a joint governance committee, made up of six Kaipara Uri representatives and six council representatives – three from Auckland Council and three from Northland Regional Council.
Chair Tame Te Rangi says the committee will oversee a yet-to-be established entity charged with delivery of the 10-year Kaipara Moana Remediation Programme:
“One of our first priorities will be deciding the spend for the programme’s first year. We know there are many strands of the programme that are ready to go now, and these are what we’ll concentrate on first.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff describes the agreement as a turning point for the restoration of the Kaipara Harbour.
“It represents all parties coming together to address the siltation and degradation of the Kaipara and the biggest-ever commitment of funds to remediate that damage,” he says.
“It’s a shared commitment to stop the erosion of the land which is devastating New Zealand’s largest harbour, and to begin to restore and preserve the harbour as a major fish-spawning and recreational asset,” Phil Goff says.
Northland Regional Council Chair (and deputy chair of the joint committee) Penny Smart says it is important to recognise that landowners and community groups are already working to improve the environment, but resourcing has been a constant struggle.
“The new government funding of $100 million for the first six years will help bring us together and enable large-scale and targeted progress to be made. We want to grow the rural workforce so people have reliable full-time work, are supported by training, and receive appropriate recognition.”
The business case that clinched government funding was developed in a partnership between Kaipara Uri, Auckland Council, Northland Regional Council and Kaipara and Whangarei District Councils.
The Crown’s $100 million funding for the first six years of the programme is contingent on matched funding from councils, landowners and potentially other sources. Auckland Council and Northland Regional Council will consult on how council funding will be found through their respective Long-Term Plan processes.
Those who gathered at Waihaua Marae on October 9 witnessed the beginning of a historic partnership, the signing of a Memorandum Of Understanding aimed to restore the health and mauri of Kaipara Moana.
“It’s a shared commitment to stop the erosion of the land which is devastating New Zealand’s largest harbour.”