Date: 29 April 2013 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
An additional $20 million over four years has been allocated to the Department of Conservation in Budget 2013 to provide for additional frontline roles and the upgrade of recreational facilities, Conservation Minister Nick Smith announced today.
“The four year funding package complements the Government’s recently announced tourism investment. It recognises that DOC is the Government’s primary agency responsible for providing infrastructure, visitor services and nature-based experiences that support the tourism industry,” Dr Smith says.
“The funding also responds to concerns raised in consultation on DOC’s restructuring. There is support for DOC having a leaner management structure and improved capacity to partner with iwi, business and the community, but there was also genuine concern that too few DOC staff were being maintained at area offices and field centres. I am deliberately announcing this funding early so it can be taken into account before DOC finalises its restructuring plans.
“$15 million of this funding, or around $3.8 million a year, will be used to increase DOC’s frontline workforce by around 60. These positions will include visitor information and support staff along with rangers involved in work on huts, tracks and protecting threatened species. These new positions will offset the 140 mainly management roles lost in the proposed restructure. It will also ensure the changes to DOC are consistent with the Government’s goal of funds being moved to support frontline public services.
“$5 million of the funding, or around $1.2 million a year, is for recreational facilities,” Dr Smith says. “This will help DOC respond to the increase in use of popular and high profile facilities, with the funding focused on the network of walks and new cycle trails.
“DOC, like all Government departments, has had to make significant savings in previous Budgets to help the Government’s efforts to close the deficit and balance the books. This Budget announcement gives DOC stability in its funding and enables it to plan confidently for the future.”
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