A volunteer-operated group behind marine clean-ups in Northland will receive $75,000 from the government and a further $50,000 from a Whangarei company to help keep its operation afloat.

Youth Minister Nikki Kaye announced the government's contribution, alongside $50,000 from Port Nikau co-owned by Tony Davies-Colley, to the Sea Cleaners Trust.

Sea Cleaners has collected more than 1.6 million pieces of rubbish from Northland waterways and beaches over seven months and more than 4.3 million litres from the sea throughout the country since it was established in 2002.

Hayden Smith, who started the initiative in Auckland before expanding to Northland, welcomed the new funding which, he said, would help a great deal in their work.

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The trust is short of $150,000 for its work in Northland but Mr Smith said they were now getting "very close" to hitting the target.

"Our programme to operate on a full time capacity, we need an extra $150,000 to cover six months worth of work," he said.

Sea Cleaners involves young people in the clean ups to teach them the importance of stopping rubbish flowing into the seas.

Northland Regional Council deputy chairman David Sinclair, who was instrumental in getting the council to allocate $25,000 each year to the trust for the next 10 years, said
every bit of financial assistance helped.

"The reality is we want more people, more boats and that requires funding to maintain the vessels and to advertise the programme. Education side of things is the biggest priority.

"We have kids picking up rubbish and they won't allow their parents to drop rubbish which helps in the work Sea Cleaners are doing," he said.

Mr Sinclair said he would push for NRC to increase its yearly funding allocation to $50,000.

Ms Kaye said about 750 young people and the marine environment from Northland to
Waikato would benefit from the new funding allocation.

"This is about supporting young people to hone skills such as leadership, planning and collaboration, while at the same time providing a valuable service for the environment and their communities."

"Young people on the programme will learn about the global and local issue of marine litter, and be supported to organise coastal clean-ups in their local areas.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to gain more awareness of how habits on the land can impact the marine environment, and what action can be taken to lead and promote change."

Last week, the trust gave a presentation to the Whangarei District Council about its need for a further $150,000 so it can expand its work.