16 Mar 2016

DOC making little progress on biodiversity recommendations

6:11 pm on 16 March 2016

An Auditor General Investigation into the Department of Conservation's (DOC) biodiversity management has found it has made limited progress on improving practices.

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Photo: RNZ

In 2012, the Auditor General's office published a report on how the department was prioritising work and working with partners to manage biodiversity and the report made eight recommendations.

However, the follow-up audit shows the department has made limited progress on these recommendations.

The 2012 report recognised DOC for its leading conservation methods and practices but was not "winning the battle against the threats to New Zealand's indigenous species and the habitats they live in".

It also stated that "at best, efforts to date are merely slowing the decline of biodiversity in New Zealand, which is a cause for concern".

The improvements recommended included renewing DOC's conservation management strategies, implement working agreements with local authorities on managing biodiversity and establishing longer-term plans and resourcing commitments with partners that are working on biodiversity operations.

It also wanted DOC's national office to ensure that there was effective leadership and co-ordination with other agencies where biodiversity of national significance is at risk.

The 2015 audit - released today - said DOC has taken a proactive approach to managing conservation risks at a national and regional level and that DOC is undertaking work to improve and embed practices and processes.

It said DOC had undergone restructuring since the 2012 report and it needed more time to assess the effectiveness of the changes.