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NZ can't afford to lose DOC jobs

NZ can't afford to lose DOC jobs

The cutting of more than 100 jobs at the Department of Conservation shows a failure to recognise our environment is the key to our economic recovery, Forest & Bird said Friday.

DOC said it had told its staff that it will be looking to shed just over 100 jobs in the Wellington headquarters and regional areas in the coming months. The jobs will be identified over the next three months, it said in a statement.

Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Vallance said the decision to cut jobs at DOC contrasts with the government's decision in April to nearly double the number of people in the Ministry of Economic Development's unit aimed at expanding the oil and minerals industries.

"New Zealanders showed last year during the battle to save our Schedule 4 protected lands from mining that we love our conservation land and want it protected from mining and other threats," she said.

Some of those who will lose their jobs are expected to be people with strong scientific and technical experience who know what would be lost if mining or other destructive developments were to take place on conservation land.

"The decision to cut 100 jobs at DOC means we will lose some of the detailed scientific on-the-ground knowledge of our conservation land. These skills are vital to ensure our wild beautiful wild places are protected and well managed."

"Good decision-making about the future of our conservation land - a third of New Zealand's land mass - is crucial to ensuring New Zealand maintains the clean green brand that underpins our key tourism and agricultural industries," Nicola Vallance said.

"These skills and experience are also crucial to saving the endangered species and landscapes that we love and that define New Zealand. DOC cannot afford to lose its core conservation expertise."

Nicola Vallance said New Zealand is at a crossroads in trying to secure our long term future and this means we must invest more to protect the natural assets that define New Zealand.

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