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Govt Under Fire After Environment Ministry Cuts Jobs

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 11 NZPA - The Government is facing criticism from Labour and the Greens because the Environment Ministry is cutting jobs.

More than 80 positions are being disestablished in response to a funding cut and the scrapping of some of its programmes.

Most staff will move to other jobs in the ministry but some will go.

Prime Minister John Key said he understood there would be "less than two dozen" actual job losses.

Although the previous government reduced the ministry's funding, Labour's state services spokesman Grant Robertson accused National of cutting important services and breaking its promise to cap but not cut public service jobs.

"We heard from National many times that they would seek to shift resources to the frontline," he said.

"Yet here they are cutting the jobs of people who work to protect New Zealand's most precious resource, our environment."

The ministry's restructuring began last year and separate to that 18 jobs are affected by a Cabinet decision yesterday to scrap the Bioethics Council and cut three recycling and carbon reduction programmes.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said it was more evidence of an anti-environmental agenda.

"The Ministry for the Environment is being clinically hamstrung by the National-led government," he said.

"Since these decisions defy reason, the only conclusion is that they are driven by belief instead."

Dr Norman said the public sector should set an example for the private sector, but the Government was saying the environment wasn't important in the face of a recession.

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