Plans to protect some of our most precious species won’t be worth the paper they’re written on if the Department of Conservation doesn’t get a significant funding boost, the Green Party said today.
“DOC funding has been chopped by some $336 million since National came to power. Maggie Barry’s plan to increase the number of species DOC protects will fail dismally if the department continues to be asked to do more with less,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Mojo Mathers.
“At the same time, the Minister has been in talks with coal miners about opening up kiwi habitat on the West Coast for coal mining.
“How can New Zealanders trust National to protect our endangered species when they’re so intent on selling off their habitat to the highest bidder?
“Funding cuts have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of front line rangers on the ground. These are the people who are actually doing the essential work protecting and monitoring our native species on the ground.
“National are dreaming if they believe that 40 percent more species can be actively managed without a corresponding increase in resourcing for DOC.
“It’s unacceptable that DOC has to rely on corporate sponsorship to pay for conservation of our most precious species, and get payoffs from mining companies to pay for pest control.
“Funding for Predator Free 2050 has been paltry – only $28 million. That’s just a few million more than the disastrous vanity project flag referendum. Our native species deserve much more than this.
“The National Government like to make big announcements that sound great in theory but there is little substance to back them up,” said Ms Mathers.