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Minister Defends Cut To Conservation Funding

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tim Groser
Tim Groser

Wellington, June 2 NZPA - Despite a $54 million cut to the Department of Conservation's funding, there will be no redundancies, Conservation Minister Tim Groser says.

"The $54m of savings over the next four years have to be seen against the context of more than $1.5 billion expenditure and the worst economic conditions since the Great Depression," Mr Groser told Parliament today.

The Government was "demanding productivity enhancements" to maintain services amid the funding cut.

The department was well run and able to achieve the "extremely modest savings" without compromising any core objectives, Mr Groser said.

The department would rely on not filling vacancies and natural attrition to reduce staff costs.

A "variety of modest savings" were made to achieve the reduction in funding, Mr Groser said.

Money for "low priority weed and pest control" would be transferred to higher priority areas.

Labour's David Parker said the reduction of weed control programmes would cost as many jobs as had been created by the Government's nine-day fortnight scheme.

Prime Minister John Key said it was not a big ask for DOC to operate with $419m a year instead of $431m.

It was important to recognise New Zealand's clean green image, he said.

"It's equally important that we realise we have to live within our economic means and I don't think a very modest reduction in expenditure is out of the question for any government department at the moment."

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