Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


The Department of Conservation is proposing a new streamlined and outwardly focused operational structure to grow conservation.

Date:  26 March 2013

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is proposing a new streamlined and outwardly focused operational structure to better position DOC for the future.

DOC presented the new structure to staff at a series of meetings around the country today.

Director-General Al Morrison says the new structure will maintain DOC’s own conservation delivery work while setting the department up to work more effectively with external partners. 

“DOC must adapt if it is going to meet the conservation challenges that New Zealand faces - even if you doubled DOC’s budget tomorrow we would still be going ahead with this proposal.”

Mr Morrison says the proposal will mean changes in the way DOC is organised across the country and will involve the loss of about 140 largely regional management and administration positions.

He says DOC will continue to operate out of the same number of offices as it currently does with more than 1200 operational staff.

The proposal removes DOC’s existing 11 regional conservancy boundaries and replaces them with six new regions. The regions will be managed across two functions; delivering field conservation work and growing conservation through partnerships.

He says the resulting flatter organisational structure will see the loss of about 118 management and administrative positions.

“There will also be a reduction in 22 operational roles through efficiencies gained by setting up new support hubs for activities such as asset management, inspections and work planning.”

Al Morrison says the proposal has been sized to ensure DOC meets its current $8.7 million savings targets and continues to meet its current delivery work.

Mr Morrison said DOC has begun consulting with staff about the proposals and no final decisions will be taken until staff feedback has been considered.

Mr Morrison says DOC will work with staff and their representatives on the new proposals and any changes will not take effect for some months.

“I acknowledge this will mean a difficult period for many staff and we will be making every effort to ease the impact of these proposals.”

Mr Morrison said DOC has had a freeze on hiring new staff and is currently holding about 160 vacancies.

“It is simply too early to say what impact these proposals will have on individuals - we will look at all options such as redeployment and relocation to minimise redundancies.”

In summary, the proposed structure involves:

  • the removal of DOC’s existing 11 regional conservancy boundaries and replacing them with six new regions
  • the creation of a Conservation Services Group focused on delivering DOC’s recreational and natural heritage field work
  • the creation of a Conservation Partnerships Group focused on working with community groups, iwi, local authorities, private landowners and businesses to attract more resources to conservation
  • the disestablishment of 118 regional management and administration roles
  • the disestablishment of 22 asset management, planning and inspection positions through the creation of new field support hubs
  • DOC continuing to deliver its operational work from its existing network of about 100 offices and locations around the country.


Rory Newsam, Media Advice Manager: +64 4 471 3104 or +64 27 295 3809

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