Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Conservation Minister forgetting lessons of Cave Creek

4 May 2013

Conservation Minister forgetting lessons of Cave Creek

Conservation Minister Nick Smith must remember the lessons of Cave Creek and stop the current Department of Conservation (DOC) restructuring, the Green Party said today.

“As Conservation Minister post Cave Creek, Nick Smith oversaw a departmental re-organisation in 1996-97 which established clear lines of accountability for DOC staff. Now he is sitting on his hands while that is undone,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The Minister needs to act on the findings in the Cooper report, an independent and hard hitting review of DOC’s organisational changes, which the PSA commissioned and released yesterday.

“Serious attention needs to be paid to the increased risk of systemic failure that the Cooper report identifies.

“Nick Smith needs to answer the question posed by the report: ‘what is driving the Director-General to move at a pace that creates extreme risks?’” said Ms Sage.

The Department’s Acting Director-General is due to announce final decisions on DOC’s restructure to staff on Tuesday 7 May.

The proposed new DOC structure splits the department into a “partnership” arm and a conservation “services” arm with the loss of 80 jobs.

The Cooper report says the proposed new structure risks the muddled reporting and management systems which contributed to the Cave Creek platform collapse which killed 13 students and a DOC worker and seriously injured others.

The Cooper review says “the creation of separate parts of the organisation with conflicting purposes is a grave mistake”, “is far from best practice” and “has been tried in other organisations and proven to be dysfunctional”.

Findings of the report include:

· “Different purposes create a constant need for people to negotiate with each other to get anything done. This was the situation that existed pre Cave Creek and it creates considerable waste as well as risk.” (p14)

· “The dissolution of the concept of integrated conservation management which has been a core aspect of the success of the post Cave Creek report should be treated as a matter of concern.” (p15)

· There is no “description of how and why the existing structure is inadequate. No reasoned case is made for the need for structural change.”

· “Staff have learnt the lessons from Cave Creek and their analysis is correct. The proposed restructure does lose the lessons and increase the risk of systemic failure. Dismissing these concerns is dangerous both from a technical organisation perspective and from a leadership perspective.” (p16)

· “The question must be asked – what is driving the Director-General to move at a pace that creates extreme risks?” (p13)

“Few people are better qualified to analyse and comment on the risks of DOC’s proposed new structure than the independent report’s author Peter Cooper,” said Ms Sage.

Immediately after Cave Creek in 1996 Mr Cooper reviewed the Department of Conservation in response to the systemic issues identified by Judge Noble in the 1996 Commission of Inquiry report. Mr Cooper’s recommendations on organisational design are the basis of the department’s current structure.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On Anne Tolley’s
Callous Folly

Years ago, I remember someone in the Heath Ministry telling me off the record that regulatory oversight in this country largely consisted in ‘waiting for something to turn green or fall off somebody’ before the authorities would swing into action...

Last week’s conflict between Social Development Minister Anne Tolley and District Court judge Carolyn Henwood illustrated quite a few of the flaws in the system. More>>

 

Members’ Bills: Greens' Domestic Violence And Loans Bills Pulled From Ballot

Jan Logie’s Domestic Violence-Victims' Protection Bill introduces workplace protections for victims of domestic violence, including allowing victims to request paid domestic violence leave for up to 10 days... Gareth Hughes’ Bill allows Kiwis with student loans to defer their student loan repayments into a first home savings scheme. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA: Police Did Not 'Deliberately' Use Pepper Spray On 10-Year-Old

"When spraying the man, the officer did not properly consider the necessity of using pepper spray in a confined space, the likelihood that it would affect the other innocent passengers or the fact that he was using a more powerful spray." More>>

ALSO:

Donor Bill Passes: Full Income Compensation For Live Organ Donors

Unanimous cross-party support for the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Bill represents a critical step in reducing the burgeoning waiting list for kidney donations, according to Kidney Health New Zealand chief executive Max Reid. More>>

ALSO:

Earthquake Response: Emergency Legislation Prepared

Three new Bills have been drafted in the wake of the magnitude 7.8 earthquake on November 14 to ensure the government can enable affected communities to respond quickly and efficiently. More>>

ALSO:

Housing MPs: New Building(s) For Parliament

A new building will be erected on Parliament grounds to house Members of Parliament and their staff who currently work in leased accommodation in Bowen House. The plan has cross-Party support, apart from NZ First, said Parliament’s Speaker, Rt Hon David Carter. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news