Uncertainty over conservation jobs
Concerns have been raised at a Southland Conservation Board meeting about the ongoing rotation of the region's conservation boss.
Board chairwoman Viv Shaw, speaking at yesterday's meeting on Stewart Island, said the recent rotation of Southland conservators posed several challenges, including building up effective lines of communication between the board and the Department of Conservation.
However, the current joint DOC conservator for both Southland and Otago, Alan McKenzie, said the uncertainty surrounding the position in both regions would not affect DOC's service delivery.
Alan McKenzie will step down as joint conservator at Christmas.
He was appointed conservator for both regions in August after Southland conservator Barry Hanson was sent to Wellington to work on DOC's delivery project and Otago conservator Marian van der Goes was stood down.
Despite being unable to say who would be filling Southland's role, Mr McKenzie said there would be a new conservator appointed in the new year and the position would last until at least July 2013.
He couldn't say whether the person would be in charge of both Southland and Otago or if one person would be appointed to each region.
Mr McKenzie said the department was unsure how it would be reshaped until it rolled out its new delivery system in July next year.
In August, DOC spokesman Rory Newsam told Wilderness magazine that it was more practical to have one conservator for both conservancies.
DOC restructured its conservancies in June, cutting 96 jobs nationally including 10 in the Southland conservancy in Invercargill. So it was not in the department's interest to change the conservancies again, he told the outdoor magazine.
Mr McKenzie said despite a period of transition, the department's ability to do its job would not be compromised.
"Both conservancies have excellent area managers and management systems in place to ensure service delivery."
Former Murihiku Area manager Dave Taylor has been appointed to the position of Otago/Southland Pou Tairangahau.
The primary purpose of the role is to lead the department's engagement with iwi, whanau and hapu.
Southern Islands Area manager Andy Roberts has also taken on the role of Murihiku area manager. Te Anau area manager Reg Kemper is also in Wellington working on the department's delivery project with his role currently filled by Coastal Otago area manager Robin Thomas following a three-week stint by Wanaka area manager Paul Hellebrekers.
Mr Thomas will be replaced by Wakatipu area manager Greg Lind in November until the return of Mr Kemper.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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