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May 22, 2017 | by  | in News |
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Increased Funding for DOC Not Enough

The Department of Conservation (DOC) will see an additional funding in the 2017 Budget.

Pre-Budget announcements from the Government indicate an advanced funding model for DOC, with $76 million allocated for boosting tourism infrastructure over the next four years.

The tourism infrastructure package for DOC is part of a larger package valued at $178 million to facilitate New Zealand’s growing tourism industry.

DOC will also receive $21 million for controlling predators in 2017, following this year’s beech forest mast (seeding), which increases rat and stoat numbers. According to Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry, the “Battle for our Birds” will be the “one of the largest predator control programmes in our history, across more than 800,000 hectares of land.”

However these increases have been criticised as failing to address previous cuts to DOC’s budget, and in a press release Green Party Co-Leader James Shaw stated they “will do nothing to halt the loss of our threatened species.”

“DOC’s funding has been chopped by some $336 million since National came to power so DOC remains woefully underfunded.”

The issue of DOC funding has received attention in the media recently. Jesse Mulligan used his position on TV3’s The Project to push for an additional $100 million to be allocated towards DOC for the purpose of managing an increased number of species.

Mulligan says many conservationists, scientists, and front-line DOC workers have “warned us that New Zealand’s ecosystem is on the brink of failure.”

Barry has dismissed these calls, suggesting that Mulligan should “cheer up.”

“It’s unacceptable,” says Green Party conservation spokesperson Mojo Mathers, “that DOC has to rely on corporate sponsorship to pay for conservation of our most precious species, and get payoffs from mining companies to pay for pest control.”

DOC made efforts in May to increase their revenue from existing infrastructure by introducing an increased fee structure for huts and campsites along the Great Walks. This is estimated to increase DOC’s revenue by $880,000 per year.

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