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The Government’s back track on DOC restructuring is not enough

The Government has seen the error of its ways and is belatedly seeking to correct cost-cutting gone awry, but much more needs to be done to redress our biodiversity crisis.

The Green Party today commended the Government for attempting to redress what has been a chaotic restructuring at the Department of Conservation (DoC) but said the response doesn't go far enough.

"National's funding cuts caused a major restructuring at DoC 18 months ago which destabilised the department and has put endangered habitats and species at further risk because of the loss of technical expertise and fewer staff," said Green Party conservation spokesperson Eugenie Sage.

"Piloting a new structure in Nelson/Marlborough and the West Coast is a start on fixing the restructuring debacle but National is still asking DoC to do the impossible and do more with less," she said.

The Green Party has identified savings within National's budget forecasts that would enable an additional $330 million to be invested in conservation over the next three years to manage and protect our wild spaces and native species.

The savings come from reallocating expenditure on the failed ETS.

"More funding for conservation would help ensure Maui's dolphins don't become extinct in our lifetimes, see better pest control in our back country, and greater protection for treasured species like great spotted kiwi, fairy tern and short tailed bat, " Ms Sage said.

"The Government has seen the error of its ways and is belatedly seeking to correct cost-cutting gone awry, but much more needs to be done to redress our biodiversity crisis."

She said former Conservation Minister Nick Smith and State Services Commission should have heeded the warnings from the PSA, conservation groups and Opposition parties about the fatal flaws in the new structure which splits staff into a "partnership" arm and a "services" arm and stopped the restructuring.

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