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Announcing the funding at the National Kiwi Hui in Queenstown yesterday, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage said it would allow community kiwi restoration projects to be scaled up and accelerated, and increase the area of predator-free land.
The Forest Bridge Trust will use $8.5million to create a 54,000ha predator-free corridor across Northland, while the remaining $11.2million will be allocated to other projects in a contestable process.
Applications are being assessed by the Kiwis for Kiwi charitable trust, with announcements expected in November.
However, most of the money is expected to be used for increased predator control, more dogs trained in kiwi avoidance, and the Operation Nest Egg programme.
Ms Sage told the Otago Daily Times there used to be millions of kiwi, but that number had fallen to about 70,000.
They were continuing to decline by about 2% a year, which was equivalent to 27 kiwi a week.
But she was optimistic a national goal of rebuilding their numbers by 2% a year to 100,000 by 2030 was achievable.
Inspirational projects that had brought particular kiwi species "back from the edge of extinction", such as Okarito rowi and Haast tokoeka, gave her hope.
"Where there is predator control, kiwi populations have increased."
The Government’s $1.1billion Jobs for Nature Fund, allocated in May’s Budget, aims to create about 1800 roles throughout the country over the next few years in predator control work, ecological restoration and improvements to tracks and huts.