Hunt on for people to fill Jobs for Nature roles across wider Manawatū

Horizons Regional Council staff inspect a fish pass in Shannon in 2014. The council needs people to help build and repair another 25 passes.
Warwick Smith/Stuff
Horizons Regional Council staff inspect a fish pass in Shannon in 2014. The council needs people to help build and repair another 25 passes.

Being given nearly $20 million is cause for celebration for most, but it has presented Horizons Regional Council a headache – hiring staff.

Horizons was awarded $18.5m of Government money as part of the Jobs for Nature scheme.

The money will go towards 405 kilometres of stream fencing, planting 375,000 plants, opening up 1250 kilometres of stream habitat for native fish through fish pass repairs and a large wetland scheme in Horowhenua.

The work has to be completed in four years, with Horizons contributing $4.6m of ratepayer money.

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To fill those roles and other vacant jobs, Horizons, which usually employs about 250 people, has to find 20 new staff.

Horizons natural resources manager Jon Roygard​​ said much of the new workforce was needed sooner rather than later, with October start dates for many roles.

Applications were in for even more funding, so more jobs may open up.

Horizons had not needed to hire so many staff in such a short timeframe in recent times, hence the need to get the word out, he said.

The roles were a range of part time, full time and paid summer internships.

The internships, lasting about three months, would be paid at a living wage, so were great for students, he said.

Past interns for roles such as swimming spot monitoring had gone on to work for Horizons in various jobs, including as water scientists.

Roygard said the new jobs were for people with a range of qualifications and experience levels.

Project managers were needed to oversee the work, engineers to build and repair fish passes and people to talk to landowners about fencing and planting, with many roles getting on-the-job training.

“You're both working with the environment and with people."

Although many of the roles were for the four-year Jobs for Nature projects, new freshwater policies and a desire to clean up waterways meant there were likely to be jobs afterwards, he said.

There were also many environmental projects ramping up in Manawatū, such as pest control in and around Te Āpiti-Manawatū Gorge.

More information about the jobs can be found at horizons.govt.nz.