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Radical Change Needed For DoC Structure

ACT Conservation Spokesman MP Gerry Eckhoff today welcomed the solution to the Whitianga development debacle, but warned that the saga proved the need for radical change.

"This fiasco highlights underlying problems with Department of Conservation's structure.

"It is ludicrous to have DoC giving advice to themselves. One arm of DoC advocates for the environment, so is dogmatically opposed to the Whitianga development.

"However, at the same time, another arm of DoC has responsibility for the management of environmental processes and an obligation to act as 'a good neighbour'. This produces a glaring conflict of interest and is a manipulation of the process.

"We must ensure that the Minister of Conservation has no ability to override community decisions. She needs to understand that people are also part of the environment.

"Sandra Lee - whose stewardship of the conservation portfolio is the worst ever seen - made an injudicious decision purely for short-term political advantage. Her fundamentalist attitude to the environment places DoC in a totally untenable position.

"She should never have become involved. It is fortunate that we can now fix her mistake, but very sad that we have to," Gerry Eckhoff said.


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