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DOC proposal a throw back to the nineties

24 March 2005

DOC proposal a throw back to the nineties

New Zealand’s booming conservation-induced tourism industry would be put at risk if National’s proposal to break up the Department of Conservation were to get the go-ahead.

PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott says National’s proposal would amount to a form of asset-stripping, taking away the department’s most economically successful functions for no perceptible benefits.

“The Department of Conservation is rated as a world leader for the way it has managed to balance environmental and economic imperatives, for the benefit of the nation as a whole. Our members, who form a very talented team with highly specialist skills, are justifiably proud of their department’s international reputation.

“Thousands of tourists visit New Zealand every year to marvel at our landscapes and venture into the back country, a pleasure also shared by very many New Zealanders. DOC makes this possible through its protection of the environment, and as part of this, the maintenance of a network of huts and tracks.

“The department’s achievements enhance our reputation as a clean, green country, a brand that has an inestimable economic value for trade and tourism.”

Brenda Pilott says National’s position reflects a narrow and out-dated view of conservation.

“It also suggests a return to the disruption of the 1990s when government departments were restructured into piecemeal organisations with a corresponding erosion of government functions and services to the public. It would bode ill for the future of public services if this were to become the prevalent orthodoxy once again.

“Strong public services are the backbone of a successful economy. The Department of Conservation’s success in not only protecting our natural resources for future generations but also in generating national wealth is an investment we cannot afford to discard.”

ENDS


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