DOC decisions loom

HELEN MURDOCH
Last updated 13:00 24/04/2013

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It will be next month before the Department of Conservation's Nelson staff know where they stand in the newly restructured organisation.

Last month DOC presented a cost-saving proposal to its 1200 regional staff nationwide to split its roles between conservation work and building partnerships with the community and business.

Yesterday DOC confirmed the senior structure of its new conservation arm, responsible for field work, would see directors based in Whangarei, Taupo, Palmerston North, Christchurch, Hokitika and Invercargill to oversee the work of yet-to-be-finalised teams of rangers.

DOC's new Conservation Partnerships Group would include six directors, based in Auckland, Hamilton, Taupo, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin, who will lead teams focusing on finding new opportunities to work in with the community, business, councils, schools and landowners.

The details of the commercial partnership teams have yet to be be decided.

Green Party conservation spokeswoman Eugenie Sage said the proposed model would leave DOC conflicted - with one part trying to exploit the environment while the other is trying to protect it.

Nationally, about 140 jobs are set to go, including 14.2 fulltime equivalent positions in Nelson, and DOC's 11 regional conservancies will be replaced by six new regions, as the department tries to save about $8 million.

In 2011, DOC cut 96 jobs, including 21 in Nelson, as part of a $7.5m money-saving exercise.

DOC's website said 1060 staff submitted to the latest proposed change. DOC spokesman Rory Newsam said it was still consulting internally with staff on how the proposal translates through to a local level. Final decisions were likely early next month, he said.

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- The Nelson Mail

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