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Report on DOC restructuring sends alarm bells

3 May 2013

Report on DOC restructuring sends alarm bells

The Public Service Association is urging the Minister of Conservation to put restructuring at the Department of Conservation on hold in light of a report which says it will re-introduce risks which existed before the Cave Creek tragedy.

In view of widespread concern among its more than 1400 members, the PSA commissioned an independent review of the organisational changes being undertaken at DOC.

The report by Peter Cooper of Advanced Dynamics recognises the need for change but confirms concerns that the proposed new structure has fundamental problems around accountability and leadership and re-introduces risks which should be considered unacceptable.

PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott says there has been a lot of disquiet among PSA members about the direction of the restructure and its impact on DOC’s operations and staff which is backed up by the report.

“While most see the need for DOC to adapt and change there is intense frustration at the manner and speed of the restructure and what appears to be a significant redeployment of resources into a new partnership arm at the expense of field operations and staff.”

“Given the weight of evidence from both our members and the independent review, alarm bells should be ringing at both department and government levels.”

The PSA has written to the Conservation Minister Nick Smith calling on him to put the current restructuring on hold until a thorough review of its goals, management and funding is carried out and following the appointment of a new Director-General in September 2013.

It is also urging him to acknowledge that current government funding of DOC is inadequate for it to meet its statutory responsibilities with respect to the protection of New Zealand’s unique landscapes and biodiversity.

Brenda Pilott says “the government needs to understand there are now a number of reasons as to why this restructure should be put on hold so more consideration can be given to how DOC is structured and funded going forward. It’s not too late.”


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