Conservation Department job loss count unveiled

Last updated 05:00 08/05/2013

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The Department of Conservation will axe 72 jobs.

Last month, the Government announced plans to cut 140 jobs as part of a reorganisation in which its existing 11 regional conservancy boundaries would be replaced by six new regions.

The proposal was aimed at ensuring DOC met its $8.7 million savings targets.

More than 1000 staff, members of the public and organisations submitted on the proposal.

Yesterday, DOC outlined its final decisions, which reduced its cuts from 140 to 72, mainly thanks to Conservation Minister Nick Smith announcing that this year's Budget would contain $5m more in funding.

In Canterbury, the number of full-time equivalent jobs will drop from 136 to 128 and on the West Coast it will decrease from 136 to 123.

Deputy Director-General Doris Johnston said the new structure created two distinct teams. One focused on delivering DOC's recreation, historic and biodiversity field work, and the other on working to develop new conservation initiatives.

Forest & Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said conservation work would suffer because of the cuts. "DOC plays a critical role in looking after New Zealand's endangered species and precious places, and in looking after our clean green image."

The new structure will take effect in September and DOC will be working with affected staff on options such as redeployment, relocation or redundancy.

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- The Dominion Post

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