Government's Provincial Growth Fund is putting nearly $1 million into beefing up forestry in the Horizons Region, Forestry and Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

He announced the funding in Ohakune this morning, along with announcing a $10m loan to Ruapehu Alpine Lifts. The loan is to be used to build a high speed gondola for Whakapapa ski area.

The Provincial Growth Fund will contribute $970,000 to planting 1,350,000 trees on 1000ha of erosion prone private land in the region, in partnership with Horizons Regional Council's Sustainable Land Use Initiative (SLUI).

The council is extremely pleased with the addition, chairman Bruce Gordon said.


The total cost of the project is just over $1.9m. Horizons is to put in $392,000 and the landowners will contribute $563,000.

The trees are to be planted by the end of September on land found through the SLUI. There will be 800,000 mānuka seedlings, with the rest radiata pine and a few other species.

The planting is additional to planting already planned under the SLUI.

The Government funding will also provide for up to 20 appraisals of future larger forestry projects - projects of over 50ha each. Anyone wanting their project assessed is asked to contact Horizons' land team by emailing

The planting will keep sediment on the hills, prevent erosion, improve water quality and store up carbon to slow climate change. It will also add at least 10 permanent jobs in remote and isolated communities.

"We have the landowners, the land and the seedlings and Horizons Regional Council has the right relationships with landowners in their region so a partnership of this kind makes perfect sense," Jones said.

Horizons has been working on an additional planting programme proposal since Government's one billion trees initiative was announced. That proposal is being finalised for next year.

"We are really excited that there is an opportunity to get funding for planting this winter," Gordon said.