Lesley Soper is the Labour candidate for Invercargill
This week it was announced that the Department of Conservation (DOC) is to cut 96 jobs around the country from 4 regional centres. 18 jobs will go from the Invercargill office, leaving only 20 of the 38 existing service positions in place. All staff in service positions will have to reapply for their jobs.
The cuts follow the National Government 2009 cut to DOC’s Budget of $54million over 4 years, which means there are probably more to come in the next stage of the ‘Review’ for efficiency and effectiveness.
Once again the regions suffer, with Northland; Tongariro/Whanganui/Taranaki; and Nelson/Marlborough also to suffer job cuts. Valuable locals, contributing to their communities economically and socially, with institutional loyalty, knowledge and years of long service are forced into job scrambles; onto the dole queue; overseas; or into short-term and insecure contract work. The regional economies and communities lose out; real people doing valuable jobs lose out; and DOC is expected to do more with less.
Southland has a significant amount of conservation land, and DOC protects places and species that Southlanders value. Jobs to go include science, technical, communications, planning and legal, but for the present no ranger positions. So jobs that allow good conservation outcomes to be achieved and rangers to be rangers go. Cut to the bone and only the skeleton remains.
Is 19 or 20 the new preferred size du jour for public service Regional offices? How long before ‘efficiences of scale’ mean the size du jour is in single figures?
Again, local public service cuts that no-one can feel comfortable about. Silence from local National MP’s on any reasons why.