Prisoners growing trees for Auckland
Auckland mayor Phil Goff has seen some of the trees which will be planted as part of his plan to plant one million trees in Auckland over the next three years.
Million Trees is an ambitious $3 million programme, which aims to offset the city’s carbon emissions and prevent silt build up in Auckland’s harbours and waterways through the planting of mostly native trees.
Auckland Council teamed up with the Department of Corrections for the initiative, which would utilise prisoners for labour.
Inmates would propagate and germinate the seeds while community work offenders would plant them.
Last week Goff visited the plant nursery at Auckland Prison at Paremoremo to see some of the seeds be planted.
‘‘You guys are going to change the whole nature of Auckland and make the city really look good,’’ Goff told the inmates.
He said the project would make Auckland green and beautiful while upskilling inmates.
‘‘The guys that are working here are learning skills as horticulturists. They’re giving something back to the community and the Department of Corrections will be literally providing us with hundreds of thou- sands of trees,’’ Goff said.
‘‘It’s giving people skills, allowing people to contribute back to the community and making our city green and beautiful.’’
Prison director Andy Langley said inmates at Auckland Women’s prison and at Auckland South Corrections Facility were also contributing to the project.
‘‘We’re really excited to be part of this because of the skills our guys get from this and it gives them an opportunity to get a job back in the community.’’
One inmate who worked in the plant nursery said it was something he enjoyed and hoped to pursue on release.
‘‘I came to prison with nothing. Now I’ve got a level four advanced in horticulture,’’ he said, which was one step shy of a diploma.
Trees were already being allocated with 30,000 going to the North West Wild Link, a corridor of linked ecosystems from Shakespear Park in Whangaparaoa through to the Waitakere Ranges, and Puhinui Reserve in South Auckland.
An additional 25,000 trees and shrubs were allocated for Atiu Creek on the north Auckland border and 15,000 allocated for Whau River and streams in Henderson.