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$24.6m for core conservation work around NZ

$24.6m for core conservation work around New Zealand

The Department of Conservation is to receive a $24.6m funding boost over four years in Budget 2005 to bolster its core work, such as saving the critically endangered kakapo.

The announcement was made today by Conservation Minister Chris Carter on Codfish Island (Whenua Hou) near Southland, where six new kakapo chicks have hatched in the past month lifting the kakapo population to its highest level in 30 years.

"DOC's efforts to save the kakapo and numerous other threatened native species around the country, are crucial to preserving New Zealand's biological wealth. The department's work maintaining our national parks underpins our billion dollar tourism industry, and its restoration of our forests is slowly transforming our environment," Mr Carter said.

"The Labour-Progressive government is determined to support and maintain DOC's capacity to deliver these core functions, including the provision of huts, tracks and campgrounds.

"As part of Budget 2005, DOC is to receive new capability funding totalling $24.6m over four years, excluding GST. This will comprise $3.7m in 2005/6 and $6.9m a year thereafter. The funding will offset cost pressures which threaten to bite in to DOC's core budget in future.

"This additional funding is a measure of the government's commitment to the New Zealand environment, our species and the recreation opportunities of Kiwi families. I am confident it will help ensure the kakapo population continues to grow," Mr Carter said.

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