29 Apr 2013

Jobs saved after DoC budget cuts rethink

9:56 pm on 29 April 2013

The Government has backed off plans to cut the Department of Conservation's budget by $38 million over the next four years.

Instead, it will now only have to find savings of $18 million, saving the jobs of 60 frontline staff.

Under the more radical spending cuts, the department had proposed slashing 140 jobs to help meet a savings target of $8.7 million.

However, Conservation Minister Nick Smith announced on Monday that the Government will allocate DoC and extra $20 million.

Dr Smith said three-quarters of this would bolster frontline staff by about 60 positions, offsetting the loss of jobs in the restructure. The remaining $5 million would pay for upgrading popular walks and cycle trails.

Environmental group The Royal Forest Bird Protection Society of New Zealand welcomed the jobs saved, but believes it is still not enough.

Advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said the 80 jobs to be cut will still be frontline staff - because despite being called programme managers, they are in fact team leaders who do the outside work as well as administrative duties.

Mr Hackwell would like to see the whole budget cut reversed and no DoC workers made redundant.