National’s plans to boost DOC’s budget with a one-off Budget 2017 lolly of $21.3 million falls well short of the long-term funding commitment needed to protect our birds, the Green Party said today.
“DOC’s funding has been cut by some $336 million since National came to power. This one-off increase for the next year will have little long-term impact in the battle for our birds,” said Green Party conservation spokesperson Mojo Mathers.
“There is a case for boosted funding for predator control during beech mast years, but it is no substitute for lifting baseline funding, which constrains DOC’s ability to implement its threatened species strategy and build resilience in our wildlife populations.
“Climate change is going to make mast seasons more regular. It’s time for the Government to commit to significantly lifting DOC’s core funding over the long term.
“National’s previous funding cuts have resulted in a significant reduction in the number of frontline rangers on the ground. These are the people who are actually doing the essential work protecting and monitoring our native species.
“DOC will never be able to achieve the long-term goal of being predator-free by 2050 when its baseline funding has been eroded so significantly by National.
“The Green Party in government will significantly increase DOC’s baseline funding for its core conservation work, to enable it to better plan and employ more rangers to win the battle for our birds,” said Ms Mathers.