So it’s official, the Department of Conservation is to lose 96 jobs. An already desperately underfunded organisation has just been hammered by the National government again. DOC will lose a significant proportion of it’s scientific knowledge with technical officers in the gun for 2012. This loss of intellectual capital will cook the ghost of the manager of one third of our landmass.
They will also be stopped progressively from their advocacy work. People simply do not understand how important the work of DOC is in a council setting. They are often the only ones advocating for a half-decent outcome in a consent environment. Their conspicuous absence from the recent Bathurst open-cast coal mine hearing is a sign of what will become the norm. So in many areas of the country where the non-vested conservation interests are tiny or silent, the projects proposed will zoom through without a holler.
Its a lot easier to do the wrong thing when you get rid of all the people smart enough to know what will happen.The DOC staff science resource is a resource for all New Zealanders to know that our conservation estate (lauded worldwide for the proportion of land it covers) is in safe hands. They advocate for Crown Property rights and ensure that a collective resource isn’t ripped, torn and screwed for pecuniary gain. Well, they did.
Budget cuts will continue with more staff to go next year and more losses of cashflow to protect what should matter to all of us….our natural heritage. To protect and prioritise areas for conservation on a shrinking budget, you need scientific expertise so DOC is expected to do a lot of magic with very few magicians. And now even less magicians…it’s a national disgrace….make that a National disgrace….