The usually reliable Crammer Substack joins the dots. This Labour govt has been intentionally underfunding DoC to the point where it can no longer carry out it's core functions. Following last week’s budget, alarm bells have been rung by the Department of Conservation. Just after 5pm on Wednesday, Deputy Director-General for Operations, Mike Tully, sent an email to senior staff advising them of discussions that took place on Monday with the senior leadership team relating to the 2023/24 financial baseline information for the department. In the leaked email Tully stated, “In summary, it did not paint the desired picture we might have hoped for. To be transparent, the initial view shows that we do not have sufficient funding to cover our basic running costs.” “There is now alot of urgent work underway to seek clarity on our position,” he wrote. The immediate effect, as set out in the email, is the introduction of a hiring freeze and a review by Deputy Director-Generals in the department to identify, “how fixed operating cost commitments fit within available funding before budget envelopes are confirmed”. The department is known to have been chronically underfunded for years but it has now reached crisis point as the government has required DoC to deliver on an increasing number of core programmes and take responsibility for the maintenance of a third of New Zealand’s total land, whilst not matching the annual increases in wages and inflation. In a NZ Herald article in February, Audrey Young wrote, “Māori hate the Department of Conservation, MPs on the Māori affairs select committee were told this morning by former Conservation Minister Poto Williams. She said that was what she had been told by Māori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis last year when she was first appointed minister in charge of the Department of Conservation. “One of the first things that Minister Davis said to me was that Māori hate DoC,” she told the committee. “‘They have a really poor relationship with the department so good luck to you sister,” he had said. https://cranmer.substack.com/p/department-of-conservation-hit-by Personally I think we've been asleep on this - look at the the Maori Party's explicit agenda to gain full control of all the Conservation Estate - essentially a privatisation of one third of all of New Zealand - and tramping as we knew it may well be coming to an end. https://www.maoriparty.org.nz/mana_motuhake
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