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Forest & Bird is warning of long-term consequences for nature and the economy following today’s announcement of 131 proposed jobs losses at DOC.

This comes on top of proposed redundancies in other government organisations that have roles to play in protecting New Zealand’s natural environment, including the Ministry for the Environment, Biosecurity New Zealand and NIWA.

Forest & Bird is particularly concerned about the extent and impact on te taiao nature of the job losses.

“The same day that the Government released a report saying that New Zealand communities and economy are at risk if we do not protect our natural ecosystems and landscapes, it announced it was slashing jobs and the budget of the agency that leads government conservation work,” says Forest & Bird Advocacy Group Manager, Richard Capie.

“New Zealand cannot afford to lose highly skilled and dedicated Kiwis who are charged with protecting our threatened species and their habitats.

“Not only do we have a government axing environmental protections through its fast-track reforms, but we also now have the prospect of these cuts during a climate and biodiversity crisis. It makes no sense – not environmentally nor economically.

"DOC’s budget is about the same as the Christchurch City Council’s, but we expect it to look after a third of Aotearoa. Public conservation land is also incredibly important to our economy.”

The Sustainable Business Council estimates that 70% of Aotearoa New Zealand’s exports depend on natural resources. The World Economic Forum estimates that more than half of global economic output (approximately US$44 trillion) is moderately or highly dependent on nature. A clean, green environment underpins our primary industries, our freshwater, our tourism, and our living standards.

Richard Capie points out that this attack on DOC will put even more pressure on volunteer-led community groups to pick up the slack.

“We know that investing in nature-based solutions, increasing wetland protection, and controlling browsing mammals reduces the impacts of climate events and improves our ability to reduce emissions. A strong environment is the backbone of a strong economy,” he says.

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