Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Doc Sending Staff to Australia to Burn Taxpayer Cash

Waste Watch: Doc Sending Staff to Australia to Burn Taxpayer Cash


The Taxpayers’ Union has today revealed that the Department of Conservation has spent over $100,000 to send staff overseas to learn a skill not applicable in New Zealand. 47 staff have traveled to Australia to learn how to conduct controlled burn-offs, despite the practice not being used by DoC.

The documents, available on the Taxpayers’ Union website, include an email from a DoC official regarding the Taxpayers’ Union enquires which suggests a an ‘excuse’ the Department could use for why staff were going on the trips.

Also released is feedback from staff that went the trips, including the admission by one that the group didn’t “really do much fire stuff”, despite that being the apparent purpose of the trip.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“The documents reveal that DoC has been left searching for ad hoc excuses to justify this expenditure. Are DoC staff so well equipped that they need to send staff on training programs for things that only assist conservation in Australia?"

“Other than the 47 staff who got a free trip to Australia, how does DoC or the public benefit from these trips?"

“This was an excuse for a junket, not training that furthers New Zealand’s conservation. They might as well have learned the didgeridoo."

“The Minister for Conservation should put an end to this ‘controlled-burning' of taxpayers’ hard earned money."

Q&A

What is the purpose of these staff trips to Australia?

DoC told us that “…the main objectives of developing leadership qualities of our crew leaders in high stress situations, enabling staff to experience a variety of fire behavior in a controlled setting, applying fire control and suppression methods in different circumstances and generally allow staff to experience the intensity associated with large fire events and practice the appropriate responses.”

How many trips have there been?

Trips were organised in 2012 and 2014. There were 25 staff on the 2012 trip, while 22 attended in 2014.

How much did they cost taxpayers?

In total, the two trips cost the New Zealand taxpayers at least $105,791. There were additional costs, however these were covered by the Australian Government.

Why does the Taxpayers’ Union object to the spending?

It’s not clear what New Zealand taxpayers received for the spending. At best Australia got cheap labour to assist with their fire management. The skills learned by DoC staff are of no use for New Zealand conservation – the ‘controlled burning’ process is not used by DoC in New Zealand.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza?

As usual, Prime Minister John Key has busily tried to distance himself from the political fallout, even though he happens to be the main beneficiary of the Remuneration Authority’s generosity. Finance Minister Bill English says with a straight face that it would actually be very hard to give the money back...

Even if it were true, it would actually be very easy for English and any other guilty colleagues, to give the extra money away. There are any number of food banks or homeless shelters who would be able to put the money to good use. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

143 Troops, Possible SAS Deployment, Legalities Unsorted: PM’s Statement On ISIL

Mr Speaker, today I am announcing to the House the Government’s decisions about our contribution to the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL... More>>

ALSO:

Liu Saga: PM's Dinner With Controversial Donor

John Key must front up to New Zealand and say what he discussed with Donghua Liu when the disgraced businessman paid $25,000 for the Prime Minister to come to dinner at his Remuera home, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Roads: National MP 'Concerned' At Overseas Driver Crashes

Waitaki MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary for Tourism Jacqui Dean said she was concerned at the number of fatal crashes involving overseas licence holders and she really felt that the time had come for more to be done. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: Parole Bill Passes

A bill reducing parole hearings deemed to be unnecessary has passed. The third reading of the Parole Amendment Bill was completed by 104 to 16 with the Greens and Maori Party opposed. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news