Overall tree-planting strategy sought

The Dunedin City Council is seeking to develop a cohesive strategy for the Government’s "One Billion Trees" programme, after turning down a funding request from the Tomahawk Smaills Beachcare Trust.

The trust received $6500 annually, but submitted a request that the figure be increased by $23,000, to propagate 2000 native plants.

Cr Andrew Whiley supported the request, and said he was impressed with the work the trust did.

"They are well-managed, they have a strong track record. They’re involved in Dunedin projects."

Cr Jim O’Malley said he would rather see the council "play a pivotal role" in making the most of central government funding and co-ordinating the large number of groups similar to the trust.

"The request brings up an unmet need ... One Billion Trees funding is out there.

"All of the entities in the city are small and need to be co-ordinated. This won’t happen without us getting involved."

The Government developed the One Billion Trees programme to increase tree planting across New Zealand, with a goal of doubling the planting rate and reaching one billion trees planted by 2028.

Cr David Benson-Pope said he did not want to see the council " make ad hoc decisions we regret".

Instead, he hoped to see the council take on a more supportive role in organising smaller groups with similar goals .

Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said he thought long-term planning would include resourcing for similar requests.

Councillors voted 13-2 against the request.

Crs Marie Laufiso and Andrew Whiley were the lone supporters. of the request.

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