Six full-time Doc jobs to go in Dunedin

Six full-time positions will be lost from the Department of Conservation's Otago conservancy office in Dunedin in the department's latest reshuffle to meet government budget cuts.

Doc announced yesterday it would set up new regional service centres in Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch as it reorganised its systems for supporting field staff.

As a result, 96 jobs would be "disestablished" during the next six months, including six of Dunedin's 141 full-time positions and 18 from Southland's conservancy office of 148.

It is understood there was some relief in the Otago conservancy office at the announcement, as it had been thought up to 34 jobs could go in Dunedin.

Doc director-general Al Morrison said by moving the support staff from a regional base into professional groupings "we will be able to provide more cost-effective systems and a stronger national focus to our work".

The regional centres would "pool" a range of services such as legal services, planning and concession and science and technical support previously handled in each conservancy.

Managers began discussions with affected staff yesterday and would be working through options such as redeployment and redundancy during the next six months.

The job cuts were in response to the 2009 budget cuts in which $54 million was taken from the department over four years.

A Doc spokesman said it was not known how many positions would be created in the new regional centres, but the "freeze" on filling any new vacancies had been lifted and three positions in Otago's area offices would soon be advertised.

Public Service Association (PSA) national secretary Brenda Pilott said more job losses were tipped for next year from Doc's conservancy and area offices.

"PSA members at Doc believe these changes will undermine the department's effectiveness rather than enhance it."

Both staff and management at Doc were going to great lengths to work with what was available but "this review appears to cut dangerously deep into Doc's resources".

She said the bulk of jobs were going from four regional centres - Northland, Tongariro-Whanganui-Taranaki, Nelson-Marlborough and Southland.



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