The Green Party will double the number of rangers working on the frontlines of defending nature, and double the amount of pest control carried out.
The conservation plan, announced today in Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges, will allow the Department of Conservation (DOC) to employ an additional 720 frontline rangers, by doubling DOC’s baseline conservation funding.
“This is the single biggest new investment in conservation since DOC was established in 1987,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“The plan will allow DOC to double the number of people working on the front lines of defending nature within five years and double the pest control undertaken.
“Since taking office, the National Government has put DOC through the wringer, cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from DOC’s baseline funding, forcing it to close field offices, and cutting the jobs of around 200 frontline rangers.
“As a result, DOC is not being resourced to do the job we expect of it: to protect all our unique wildlife, and the places we love.
“That means our native birds are in serious trouble. Waves of introduced predators and habitat loss have combined to create a perfect storm of destruction. One third are now facing extinction. Birds like the kea or yellow-eyed penguin could disappear in our lifetimes.
“The Green Party is going to fix that.
“DOC’s baseline funding for conservation will be increased progressively to $192 million by 2023. Conservation is core government spending so the boost will come from the Crown’s consolidated fund.
“Funding increases will include enough to double the co-funding for conservation work taking place on private land and Mãori land supporting the great work of everyday New Zealanders who volunteer their time on local conservation projects nationwide.
“A new $20 tourism levy will raise an additional $65 million for Predator Free 2050 by 2021, helping to broaden and strengthen the funding available for conservation nationally.
“Under a Government with a Green heart, New Zealand’s natural treasures — our wildlife, forests, rivers, and oceans — will finally be in safe hands,” said Mr Shaw.
Link to the Green Party’s Thriving Nature conservation plan