Staff feel the love in protest against cuts

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 12/04/2013
Southland Times photo
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
AT RISK: Department of Conservation protesters in Don St, Invercargill, say native birds are threatened due to planned cuts.

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Southern Department of Conservation staff were shown the love yesterday on "Love DOC Day".

Post-it-notes and posters expressing messages of support for staff facing an uncertain future were placed on the doors of DOC's Don St headquarters in Invercargill yesterday.

Forest and Bird Southland branch chairman Craig Carson said the gathering was not a protest against DOC but a protest against Government cuts to the department.

"The way staff are being treated is unfair and the changes are killing morale," he said.

"We are here today to cheer up the staff and show how much we appreciate what they are doing."

It was ironic Prime Minister John Key was in China selling New Zealand as a tourist destination but at the same time his government was slashing funding to the very product he was selling, Mr Carson said.

The funding and job cuts should be cancelled, Mr Carson said.

Janet Hodgetts and her daughter Emma, 9, were at DOC's headquarters to support staff.

"It's tragic what is happening to DOC and it's tragic for the future generations," she said.

"What will New Zealand be like when my daughter has grown up?"

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