Fish and Game short-staffed

The high workload faced by many of its staff must be reduced if the organisation wants to retain its employees, Otago Fish and Game Council says.

''Staff are chasing their tails. We need another staff member; we need several,'' council chairman Monty Wright said at a recent meeting.

The council did not want to lose its good staff because they were ''run off their feet'', he said.

Three regional field officers, a chief executive, an environmental officer and one administration staff were based in Dunedin while two regional field officers were based in Cromwell.

Mr Wright believed the amount of work the council's environmental officer, Peter Wilson, was required to do on Resource Management Act issues meant he needed support.

''More of him would be excellent.''

Council staff had played a major role in the successful bid to amend the Water Conservation Order to recognise the values of the Nevis River.

It had also made submissions and had taken part in mediation regarding the Otago Regional Council's water quality plan change, 6A, and would be involved in consultation regarding the regional council's minimum flow setting process.

Fish and Game chief executive Niall Watson said the council would also need to set aside funds so it could have ready access to hydrological advice and legal advice during that process.

A proposal for new staff would be put together for consideration during the next budget round, while the funding for the resource management work would be discussed at the council's February planning meeting, he said.

The council was able to access ''pool funding'' from Fish and Game New Zealand to meet research and legal costs for those sorts of situations.

-rebecca.fox@odt.co.nz

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