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DOC shouldn’t get another crack at a failed project

The Department of Conservation should the pull the pin on a failed Mackenzie Basin project and return the unspent money to Treasury, National’s Conservation spokesperson, and MP for Waitaki, Jacqui Dean says.

“The Tū Te Rakiwhānoa Drylands project was allocated $2.3 million dollars in the 2018 Budget. $1.4 million of that has already been spent and yet the project has now gone back to the ‘design’ phase with a new business case being put together.

“It’s appalling that three years in and more than a million dollars down the drain the project scope and timeframes for completion are not known and are not expected to be known until June 2022.

“It’s not as if this project has been understaffed. More than $800,000 has been spent on personnel, including a principal advisor, a project manager and a project co-ordinator, and yet here we are back at square one.

“The Department of Conservation (DOC) should not be allowed to have another go at this. The Conservation Minister needs to take responsibility for what’s happened and the unspent money should be returned and invested elsewhere.

“This project has been a disaster from day dot and it has failed an iconic New Zealand landscape.

“This is a sad indictment of DOC’s ability to manage such an important process and is disappointing for all those people who have volunteered their time for the betterment of the Mackenzie over many years.

“Taxpayers deserve better. This is yet another example of wasteful spending from a Government unable to deliver on its promises.”

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