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Budget Slashing Pushes DoC Over The Edge


Ruth

DYSON

Conservation Spokesperson

26 March 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Budget Slashing Pushes DoC Over The Edge

National’s latest cuts to the Department of Conservation (DoC) are as demoralising for field staff as they are dangerous for our biosecurity and biodiversity, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.

“Today, DoC has announced 140 will go more jobs will be cut, as the Government puts fundraising priorities ahead of the preservation, maintenance and protection of our conservation estate.

“The creation of a Conservation Partnerships Group will see biosecurity overshadowed by the necessity of raising funds.

“John Key’s clam that DoC was overstaffed and that cuts were to middle management are extremely misleading. Provincial New Zealand will be hard hit by these cuts.

“The disestablishment of 118 regional management and administration roles will mean people in provincial centres will no longer have the conservation expertise they have relied on in the past.

“These are cuts to frontline services,” Ruth Dyson said.

“Today’s announcement represents an overhaul of the core functions of DoC. The Department’s focus of advocacy and conservation management has gone, signalling the end of the Department as many New Zealanders know it.

“The Prime Minister’s assertion that cuts will not affect the frontline is laughable. The fact John Key is naive enough to think that the goodwill of volunteers and donations will make up for fewer qualified, experienced staff, is evidence we are in real trouble.

“Conservation Minister Nick Smith doesn’t come out of this unscathed either. His reputation for being passionate about the sector is in tatters.

“Last year the Auditor General released a damning report on the Government’s underfunding of the Department saying cuts posed a significant threat to our conservation values and prevented the department from fulfilling its statutory responsibility for environmental protection.

“The repercussions of meddling with DoC’s mandate will fall to the next generation of Kiwi conservationists and taxpayers. They deserve better than to pick up the pieces of National’s short-sighted policies,” Ruth Dyson said.

labour.org.nz

ENDS

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