7 Dec 2011

Scientists sign protest letter over DoC job cuts

7:45 pm on 7 December 2011

More than 100 scientists have signed a letter of protest to the Government over pending job losses at the Department of Conservation.

In September, DoC announced that 96 jobs would be lost in 11 regional conservancy offices and its head office in Wellington. It has about 2000 employees at present.

The open letter says the loss of jobs in the next six months will hinder the country's conservation efforts.

The scientists say they are dismayed by what they call an ongoing reduction in capacity, support and funding for conservation in New Zealand.

Brendon Dunphy, from Auckland University's School of Biological Sciences, says hopes the letter will open dialogue on the issue.

The letter was given to the Conservation Minister at the 25th International Congress for Conservation Biology which began in Auckland on Wednesday. About 1500 scientists are attending.

DoC's director general Al Morrison says the department is not reducing its science spending and the restructure is about efficiency.

Mr Morrison says like all government departments, DoC is always looking at ways to use taxpayer money more effectively.