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DOC ‘consultation’ nothing of the sort



Conservation Spokesperson

DOC ‘consultation’ nothing of the sort
The Department of Conservation has shown absolute contempt for the consultation process around staff losses and changes, and has made itself a sitting target for a legal challenge, Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.

“The massive restructuring, which impacts on every region of the country, has allowed just 12 working days for this consultation to occur.

“DOC received more than 1000 submissions on plans to reduce 11 regions to six, yet the department has just announced that its overall restructuring plan will go ahead in basically the same shape was it was when it was originally proposed late last month.

“It is not credible that every one of those submissions has been read and considered, yet that is exactly what a process of consultation requires.

“The Department is also saying it got it 98 per cent right and all those opposed to the focus and specifics of the restructuring got it wrong.

“I disagree. The submitters who argued that the primary functions of advocacy and conservation management need to be restored to the Department, and that staff should be adequately resourced to perform those jobs well, got it exactly right.

“At the same time DOC is being forced to rattle the begging bowls to perform statutory functions - such as pest control – and axing frontline staff, John Key is funding advertising campaigns to attract tourists.

“Our natural estate – at the heart of our clean, green image – is the very reason people visit this country. Yet right now the very department charged with looking after our public land is getting its throat cut.

“The Government has its priorities wrong. We need a properly resourced Conservation Department. It has been forced to go through a sham of a consultation process and many critical jobs will now be lost.

“New Zealand will be the loser,” Ruth Dyson concluded.


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