Budget delivers $12 million less for native wildlife

Forest & Bird has calculated that the 2017/18 budget has delivered a $12 million real term reduction in the Department of Conservation’s core biodiversity funding.

"The Government is trying to confuse the true picture by including its one-off emergency spending on the ‘Battle for Our Birds’ response to the latest beech masting event," says Forest & Bird’s Chief Executive Kevin Hague.

"When you take out this one-off $21.3 funding, the core budget for managing natural heritage is actually $30.2 million less than the 2008/09 budget and $12 million less than last year’s budget.

"While Forest & Bird fully support this emergency funding, we are very concerned that there has been a reduction in funding for DOC’s core biodiversity protection work." "Over the last 9 years, the core budgeted funding for protecting our native animals, plants and landscapes has declined in real terms by nearly 17%."

"Today’s budget has delivered a further reduction in core biodiversity spending."

"When the Minister recently announced the Government’s new Threatened Species Strategy, she stated that we now have more than 3000 native species that are threatened with or at risk of extinction, and that the government was only hopeful of being able to manage one in five of these species by the year 2030."

"It seems incredible that there is no new money to deal with the crisis facing nature," says Mr Hague.

"When you compare its budget for core biodiversity protection in 2008/09, the Department of Conservation has been consistently underfunded in every following year.

This underfunding adds up to a total of $132 million in real, inflation adjusted, terms over those 9 years."

"The 2017/18 budget has just increased that shortfall."

Forest & Bird says DOC’s core natural heritage budget needs to more than double from $152 million this year to $330 million per year over the next four years.

Follow the link to view a table and graph comparing this year’s funding for Natural Heritage Management with previous years.