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Scandalous Waste Of Public Money

Obstinate public servants in the Department of Conservation have caused a blowout of $3 million dollars for the clean-up of Lake Omapere in Northland, says ACT party deputy leader Ken Shirley.

“It’s absolutely scandalous. All the evidence to a parliamentary enquiry indicated that introducing grass carp to Lake Omapere in the mid-1990s would have ensured that the build-up of exotic lake weed was contained at a manageable level,” said Ken Shirley.

“Scientific evidence from the likes of the Ministry of Fisheries and the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere showed clearly that grass carp posed no environmental threat, yet the Department of Conservation persistently refused consents permitting their introduction.

“This is a classic case of Government procrastination allowing a small, manageable problem to escalate into a major disruptive and expensive issue. Because of the lack of action by DOC, exotic lake weed is smothering Lake Omapere, requiring mechanical harvesting and spraying, as well as the use of grass carp, in a recovery programme that will cost in the order of $3 million.

“Timely intervention would have contained the costs to less than $100,000.

“The Lake Omapere trustees, responsible for caring for the lake, are enormously frustrated by the delays caused by the department. The issue should be a lesson for all bureaucrats and Government Ministers that procrastination and undue process comes with a cost. In this case an environmental cost and a financial cost,” Ken Shirley said.

Ends


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