New environment and conservation-related funding in the Budget includes $21.3 million for the Battle for Our Birds pest control programme, $4m for climate change policy work, and $1m for an iwi-based fresh water fund.

But the Green Party has slammed the Budget, arguing there is little included to stop pollution of waterways or combat climate change.

The Budget includes an additional $107m for conservation programmes, bringing Budget 2017's total conservation spend to $466m.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said the funding continued a commitment to the Predator Free 2050 initiative, with specific initiatives to protect and restore threatened species, fight kauri dieback, increase predator, pest and weed control and marine protection as well as respond to tourism growth.


It included $21.3m in Battle for Our Birds funding to respond to a pest-fuelling beech mast season, and $44.6m in operating and $41m in capital for tourism infrastructure to ease pressure on DoC land and facilities.

A further $4.75m of operating funding in 2016/17 had been set aside to respond to cover costs associated with the February fires in the Port Hills near Christchurch.

The Department of Conservation stated its total departmental budget has increased from $316m in 2008/09 to $376m in 2017/18.

DoC stated that, even with a major funding injection for tourism, most of its operating budget was still spent on species protection and ecosystem maintenance.

In 2017/18, 47 per cent of the departmental budget would go toward natural heritage and biodiversity, with 39 per cent on recreation.

The rest was spent on working with the community to grow conservation, and historic heritage and policy advice.

An extra $1m was being allocated in 2017/18 for the Te Mana o Te Wai Fund to improve water quality of lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and lagoons that were important to local iwi.

"This is in addition to the initiatives announced in the Government's Clean Water Package, consultation on which has recently closed," Environment Minister Nick Smith said.

"That package includes work in the areas of stock exclusion from waterways, changes to the National Policy Statement on fresh water management, and other initiatives."

The Budget includes $1.5m in 2017/18, including $250,000 in Vote Environment, to advance proposals for recreational fishing parks in the Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds.

The funding would help progress the fishing parks alongside other proposals for the use and protection of marine space in these areas, Smith said.

New Zealand's climate change work programme received an additional $4m over four years to assist with policy work to meet its Paris Agreement 2030 emissions targets.

"This funding will mandate work across government to provide costed, tested and modelled policy options to meet our international emissions reductions targets under the Paris Agreement," Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett said.

"Along with the recently announced Productivity Commission investigation into climate change we will now have advice on the actual economic trade-offs that we'll need to make to meet our 2030 target."

Other climate-related investments have included $20m for agricultural greenhouse gas research, $31m on research into understanding climate change, $19.5m for the Afforestation Grants Scheme and $24m over four years for the Low Emission Vehicles Contestable Fund.

The Budget also allowed $18.4m in operating funding over four years to improve the biosecurity system and protect borders.

Part of this would be used to manage biosecurity risk offshore so fewer pests and diseases make it to New Zealand, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy said.

"A major focus will also go on lifting public awareness and participation because biosecurity is the responsibility of all New Zealanders," Guy said.

"This will involve targeted programmes to drive awareness and behaviour changes, and to meet our goal of having 90 per cent of relevant businesses actively managing pest and disease risks."

Greens: Pollution will 'only get worse'

The Green Party has hit out at the Government's environment funding, arguing it falls well short of what's needed to tackle freshwater and climate challenges.

"There is nothing in this Budget that will clean up our polluted rivers, lakes and streams, or protect our drinking water," party co-leader James Shaw said.

"A million dollars for one fund isn't going to cut it - especially when National refuses to turn pollution off at the tap.

"The Green Party will not allow one more lake or river to be polluted when in government - under National pollution will only get worse."

Shaw also slammed the Budget's climate change allocation.

"There is a paltry $4 million increase in funding to stop climate change, while there is also a $300 million increase in subsidies for polluters."

Greenpeace has also slammed the Budget - particularly its funding of agricultural irrigation schemes.

"The Government has already allocated around half a billion taxpayer dollars to subsidise industrial-scale irrigation schemes around the country, which will result in more cows and more polluted rivers," executive director Russel Norman said.

"And now it has just proudly announced it will be injecting even more cash into it.

"As a very basic right I'd say New Zealanders deserve a Budget that doesn't actively fund the destruction of our culture and environment.

"If the only thing we did right now was to stop spending money on increasing pollution, it would still be hugely significant for both the climate and for our long-term economy."

WWF-New Zealand was also "really disappointed" in the Budget, campaigner David Tong said.

"There's nothing set aside for protecting Maui dolphins from extinction, when just 1 per cent of the tax cuts announced today or 1.5 per cent of the new government spending in this Budget would be enough.

"The $4 million announced for climate change mitigation is less than $1 per person over four years.

"Meanwhile, the last figures that government released showed that they subsidise fossil fuels to the tune of $40 million per year - 10 times what they're spending on climate action over four years."