17 Oct 2013

Smith defends DoC funding

6:06 pm on 17 October 2013

The Conservation Minister says claims his department's budget has been reduced are wrong.

Speaking to a national conservation conference in Dunedin on Thursday, Nick Smith acknowledged deep unhappiness about the Department of Conservation's new structure and priorities.

He says the changes are to modernise the department, help it do more, and work with communities better.

Dr Smith says commentary he has seen about massive slashes in DoC's budget, and describing it as a new endangered species, is a misinformed comment that does not stack up.

He says the department's budget has risen roughly in line with inflation since 2008, from $308 million to $335 million today, and the Government is committed to keeping up its share of the conservation effort.

Dr Smith says the push for business to fund conservation work would not be an excuse to cut DoC funding.