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Conservation funding cuts a sad way to mark biodiversity day

22 May 2015

Conservation funding cuts a sad way to mark biodiversity day

The Green Party is disappointed that Budget 2015 continues Government cuts to conservation spending, increasing the risks to our native species.

The Department of Conservation’s operational funding has been cut by $8.7million down from a budgeted $352million last year to $343 million, with funding for natural heritage management slashed by $7million.

Saving our threatened species and protecting and restoring habitats and ecosystems deserves more not less funding said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

“The cut to DoC funding is a sad way to recognise United Nations’ International Biological Diversity Day which commemorates the adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“The much-vaunted $11.2million directed to the grandly titled “Save Our Iconic Kiwi Initiative” is funded from DoC’s natural heritage management programme, which has been cut from $166million budgeted in 2014/15 to $159million.

“More funds should certainly be dedicated to save the kiwi, but this should not be at the expense of other threatened species and habitats.”

“There is no genuine commitment to saving our national symbol when the Government is cutting funding for DoC’s wider programme of maintaining, restoring and protecting habitats and species and simply ring fencing some money for kiwi work.

The kiwi programme is to be run by DoC in partnership with a charitable trust that relies on corporate sponsorship and volunteers.

“Since laying off more than 260 staff around the country DoC is increasingly outsourcing its core work to volunteers.

“The bulk of funding for Save Our Iconic Kiwi will only kick in after 2017 when $3million becomes available, and the last $6.6million is budgeted in 2018.

“Claiming that kiwi will get $11.2million of funding is simply smoke and mirrors,” Ms Sage said.

ENDS

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