More than 100 staff at the Department of Conservation are
expected to lose their jobs this week.
The department will discuss its latest restructuring plans
with staff tomorrow, and will make a public announcement in
Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said the
latest cuts are expected to be significant, with frontline
conservation staff to be laid off in favour of recruiting
He said volunteers are crucial to conservation, but DOC has a
unique role in protecting threatened plants and animals which
are far from cities or towns.
"These remote areas are impossible for volunteers to reach
regularly," he said.
"Low numbers of people do not mean low numbers of possums,
stoats and rats - quite the opposite. There's no substitute
for on-the-spot work by a paid and highly skilled staff
member based in a remote but critical part of the country."
Mr Hackwell said the Government was putting "huge pressure"
on DOC to cut costs, and the department's response would
significantly undermine both its professional capacity and
its ability to deliver good conservation management.
DOC's operating budget for the last financial year was $335
million, which was $25m less than in 2008.
"The price of constantly undermining DOC will be high indeed
for our native plants and animals, and for generations of New
Zealanders to come."
The Green Party says job cuts at the Department of
Conservation will put wildlife at risk and undermine New
Zealand's 100% pure brand.
Greens' conservation spokeswoman Eugenie Sage said tomorrow's
job cuts announcement will be an additional blow to the
"More than 265 jobs have been cut from the department since
National took power."
Ms Sage said 96 positions were cut in the last restructuring,
in 2012. She said the the job cuts will leave DoC without the
expertise it needs, and blamed Budget cuts by the National
"The ongoing job losses follow a $54 million cut in the
Department's budget in 2009, and further funding pressure
because of Government's singular focus on reducing spending.
"DOC manages more than a third of the land in New Zealand.
Sixty per cent of New Zealanders consider conservation to be
as important as education, health, and law and order."
DOC currently has 1807 permanent positions.
A spokesman for the department said in the last two years 120
jobs had been lost through reviews of the national office and
regional administrative systems.