10 May 2012

School environment programme to get $7.6m

4:07 pm on 10 May 2012

The Government is restoring funding to an environmental schools programme that promotes reducing waste and planting vegetable gardens to children.

Environment Minister Amy Adams and Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples made the pre-Budget announcement at Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Ara Whanui in Lower Hutt.

The Government made cuts to Enviroschools funding in 2009 but after negotiations with the Maori Party has agreed to set aside more than $7.6 million over the next four years for the programme

Ms Adams says the funding, shows the Government's commitment to the environment in tough economic times.

She says Enviroschools is in place in more than 800 schools, and the new funding will help extend it to more schools, including Maori immersion.

Pita Sharples, who is also the Maori Party co-leader, says the money will help develop the Enviroschools in Maori immersion schools.

Dr Sharples says these types of initiatives are sometimes looked on as a luxury, but they are very important in teaching children to respect the environment.

Valuable investment - Greens

The Green Party says new funding for an environment schools programme is a valuable investment.

The Greens environment spokesperson Catherine Delahunty says the programme has struggled over the past few years after having its funding cut by the Government.

She says it is pleasing the Maori Party has managed to negotiate new money as the programme makes a huge difference to children's understanding of the environment.

The Budget will be delivered on 24 May.