Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has this morning fulfilled his pledge of planting a million trees in this term of council.
The Mayor planted the millionth tree – a Puriri – at a public planting event at Totara Park in Manukau alongside more than 250 volunteers, mana whenua representatives and partners including the Department of Corrections and Te Uru Rakau - Forestry NZ.
Phil Goff made the pledge to plant a million mainly native trees and shrubs across the region during the 2016 election campaign. Today’s planting not only fulfils that promise but puts the project on track to exceed it by around 100,000.
Phil Goff said he’s proud of the work done by people and organisations from across the city to deliver the project.
“Putting a million trees in the ground was always going to be an ambitious undertaking but Aucklanders stepped up to the challenge. I have been blown away by the level of support thrown behind this project.
“Thousands of people have come together to plant trees and make our city a better, greener place to live. It’s exemplified people power and the love Aucklanders have for their environment.
“Together we’ve made our city more beautiful, created carbon sinks to help reduce emissions, and reduced siltation into our harbours and waterways through riparian planting.”
The first tree was planted by Mayor Phil Goff in the Oakley Creek catchment in June 2017, alongside school children from Wesley Intermediate. He said their generation would benefit most from the success of the project.
“It’s about leaving a green legacy for our kids and grandchildren, teaching them the value of environmental stewardship and empowering them to play a part in protecting and enhancing our environment.
“In light of Tuesday’s climate declaration, today’s achievement is a positive example of just one council action to address the climate emergency – but there is much more to do,” said Phil Goff.
He also emphasised the project’s social benefits.
“This project has been fantastic for Auckland. It has improved our environment and strengthened our communities by bringing people together around a shared goal.
“I am especially proud of our partnership with the Department of Corrections which has seen offenders grow over 360,000 seedlings over the past three years, enabling them to contribute to the community, give back for the offence they have committed and learn and earn new skills and qualifications to help them reintegrate back into the community.
“Thank you to everyone who has rallied so strongly behind the million trees goal. Auckland is a better place because of your efforts,” said Phil Goff.