Northland conservation efforts will be boosted by Budget 2018 but no-one yet knows how much of the new $81.3 million fund for pest control programmes will come to the region.
Now the amount has been decided, decisions about who gets what share up will be done at Department of Conservation's national level, with input from the regions.
What is known, is that nationwide the money will target possums, stoats, rats, invasive weeds and other pests on an extra 800,000ha on top of the 1 million ha already funded for this work.
Overall, DoC gained $181.6m for operational costs, aimed at key areas of its work, but the $81.3m for pest control over four years is a dedicated amount — the first targeted funding of its kind by any government.
"For the first time, predator control funding will be locked in. Budget 2018 means DoC won't have to divert funding from other priorities or scramble to get one-off allocations from Government in order to do this essential work," Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said.
A Northland DoC spokeswoman said there was likely to be funding allocated in the $81.3 million to the high priority, long term pest programme and restoration plan for Russell State Forest. The forest covers over 11,500ha of native rainforest between the Bay of Islands and northern Whangārei.
For several years Forest and Bird has said the forest has been on the brink of collapse and Northland DoC needs $20m over a decade to stabilise it.
''Northland is a priority site and we are pretty sure there will be money from this budget that will enable programmes to build on the great work already been done in the region,'' the group says.
Last year the National government pledged to work with hapu and conservation groups to develop a 20-year forest health plan for Northland. Currently, funding comes into Northland for predator control over more than 40,000ha, many of the programmes reliant on iwi, community and Landcare efforts, usually in partnership with DoC.
As well as pest control, DoC is likely to get new money from the greater budget for Northland kauri dieback efforts; for example, funding the joint partnership with Waipoua Forest iwi, Te Roroa.
Without the new dedicated package, DoC's national funding for predator control would have reverted to only 200,000ha a year. This year's budget offering will allow an expanded area equivalent to the size of Auckland and Northland regions combined.
Announcing the huge increase in its budget, Sage said DoC was ''getting back on track'' by securing the extra $181.6 million over four years, the largest funding increase in 16 years.
"When 4000 of our native plants and animals are threatened or at risk of extinction, every single conservation dollar counts. This injection of $81.3 million is only the start of this Government's investment in nature."