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DOC restructure bad for conservation

23 April 2013

DOC restructure bad for conservation

A new structure at the Department of Conservation (DOC) will see a significant chunk of its work re-focussed on revenue generation rather than conservation, the Green Party said today.

Today DOC is due to finalise its new structure which introduces a new “partnership” arm focused on “extracting value” from the conservation estate by working with business and external organisations.

“Splitting DOC into a commercial and community ‘partnership’ arm and a conservation ‘services’ arm means fewer resources focused on conservation of our protected areas. It also risks a silo mentality and fragmentation of conservation work,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“This model will leave DOC conflicted, one part will be trying to exploit our environment while the other is trying to protect it.

“Extracting value is about allowing more commercial development in protected areas. That’s at odds with our conservation and national parks legislation and will impact on biodiversity values.

“DOC’s primary responsibility is preserving and protecting our treasured places on conservation land and in our marine protected areas, and their species and ecosystems. Yet the original restructuring documents barely mention biodiversity.

“New Zealanders value DOC and our conservation estate – the Government needs to look after the cornerstone of New Zealand’s 100% pure image.

“A 2012 survey of New Zealander’s perceptions towards conservation showed that New Zealanders support more funding for conservation.”

“DOC’s last New Zealanders’ attitudes to conservation survey showed that 77% of people agreed that spending money on conservation is a good investment in the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders and only 16% opposed more government spending on conservation.

“The Office of the Auditor General recognised that DOC’s regional staff are the department’s strength. The restructuring puts form ahead of function and risks severing the strong connection DOC staff and their work has with the places the department is responsible for protecting,” said Ms Sage.

ends

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