Friday, December 11, 2015

The cost of austerity: Northland's forests

Back in October, Forest & Bird released drone footage of Northland's forests, showing them dead and dying due to rampant pests. The Department of Conservation should obviously be doing something about this, to prevent total ecological collapse. But they won't, because of budget cuts:

Six weeks after a Forest & Bird video revealed Northland native forests dying of neglect, the Department of Conservation (DoC) has admitted it has no plan or budget to save them and no intention of asking the government for more funding.

DoC manager for Northland Sue Reid made that clear this week to a meeting of the Northland Regional Council's environment committee.


"We have to show what we will achieve within our current budget, and it is not sustainable to just go cap-in-hand to the government for more money."

So, DoC is going to stand by in the face of a pressing ecological crisis because their Minister has cut their natural heritage management budget by $6 million and they're too chickenshit to ask for it back so they can do their job properly. It really makes you wonder what the point of them is. Meanwhile, National's austerity looks like it is going to cause permanent damage to Northland's forests.

...but I guess that just means more Swamp Kauri for Judith Collins' partner to export to China, right?