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DOC scientists lose jobs through under-funding

DOC scientists lose jobs through under-funding

Leading DOC scientists and recovery programme experts are losing their jobs in a cost cutting and restructuring exercise at a time when DOC’s annual report states that the department lacks the core capacity to properly protect the majority of threatened native species.

“It’s unacceptable for the Department of Conservation to be getting rid of staff who are vital for our species recovery work at a time when the Government is running record budget surpluses,” said Forest and Bird’s Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell.

“These are the people whose heroic efforts to save our endangered animals make New Zealand proud. We can’t afford to lose these people and their skills,” he said.

“Thirteen jobs are being lost out of the science wing of the Department of Conservation. Some of these jobs are key scientific roles in the Department including research into seabirds, invertebrates and marine issues which are key government conservation areas,” he said.

“The cut back will affect work programmes. DOC will be doing less in order to meet its budget,” he said.

“Over recent years DOC has received targeted extra funding for specific project work, but core funding has not kept up with rising costs and we are now witnessing significant cut-backs as a result,” he said.

“Lack of funding means that most of New Zealand’s threatened species are not getting the help that they need. These cutbacks will make the situation worse,” he said.

“There needs to be an immediate boost to cover the shortfall in the Department’s budget for this core work.,” he said.

“Rather than retrenching, DOC should be expanding its core work otherwise experienced and effective conservation staff could be lost to conservation in New Zealand,” he said.

Note: Key findings in the Department of Conservation's Annual Report to Parliament:

There are approximately 800 native species listed as acutely and chronically threatened. 77% have no work programmes targeted specifically at their recovery and are thought to be in decline.

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