Fire Protection Of DoC Land Up In Smoke
A dramatic drop in Department of Conservation (DoC) spending on fire control in the last four years is alarming, says New Zealand First Conservation Spokesperson Clayton Mitchell.
DoC’s annual reports show a massive drop in fire control expenditure from over $11 million in 2011/12 to just $724,000 last year.
“DoC is quite simply running down its ability to effectively provide for the fire management needs of Conservation land.
“When questioned in Parliament today Conservation Minister Maggie Barry insisted that the answer to the dramatic fall in expenditure lay somewhere in the restructuring of the Fire Service.
“What a load of rubbish.
“This does not explain the disturbing decrease in past expenditure. Nor does it take into account that DoC will retain its responsibilities for controlling fires on DoC land under the proposed restructure.
“Just this week we have seen a 300 hectare fire on DoC land at Castle Hill which closed a South Island rail link.
“The National government has continued to put DoC under unreasonable funding pressure despite the importance of its mandate to protect our Conservation lands,” says Mr Mitchell.