Tuesday, November 05, 2013

This is what happens if you underfund public services

The Department of Conservation is missing almost all of its targets to protect our natural heritage:

DOC's annual report shows it's failing to do its job of preserving New Zealand's natural and historic heritage - a result of job cuts, the Green Party says.

According to its annual report, DOC failed to meet a number of self-imposed targets. Treatment of land for possums missed its target by more than 32,000 hectares, and only 60 per cent of planned possum operations were successfully completed.

Targets for the improvement of "chronically threatened", species and "at risk" and "threatened" plant and bird species were not met. A number of targets for improving the understanding of species and their threats were also not met.

No targets for the the maintenance and management of historic heritage sites were achieved.

DoC's budget in 2008/2009 - Labour's last year in power - was $416 million. Its budget now is $444 million. Accounting for inflation, its budget has been cut by $17 million in real terms. And after three rounds of restructuring - all supposedly aimed at shifting resources to the "frontline" - its beginning to have a serious effect. And either we're going to have to pay to fix it, or pay in lost biodiversity and recreational opportunities. But National probably see that as a bonus, in that the required increased spending to fix their mess can be labelled "waste' and "extravagance" and used to justify yet more attacks on public services.