Sunday, 10 April 2016

Department of Conservation funding cuts, global capitalism and its collapse

Quite apart from the egregious lies in this article that come from DoC there is the bigger picture.

There is no money in the coffers for conservation,science or anything that is useful,partially because it is part of a right-wing, fascist ideology that hates nature or science,or the arts, or intellectuals but also for another reason.

Corporations are allowed to hide their income and not pay any tax (one corporation in the US not only didn't pay any tax but dot a TAX CREDIT).

If a government decided to demand taxes from these criminal behemoths the result would be instant capital flight or perhaps a coup.

The result is a fascist government that is trying to squeeze more and more from less and less while everything across the board breaks down.

Hence we see rubbish on tramping tracks, broken-down huts and unrepaired tracks. I have heard that one place I used to go into for tramps (at Otaki Forks in the Tararuas) is inaccessible due to a large slip.

We can't even go out for a drive in our car without having to deal with armies of orange cones and roadworks because roads are the only area where the government is investing in an attempt to keep alive the fiction an economy that is completely grinding to a halt is still functional.

We live in an era of global capitalism and its collapse. With a system of tax havens and the abiltiy of corporations to export its costs and dump them onto taxpayers, there is nothing that governments can do (even if they wanted to)

Funding cuts to DOC huts and tracks threaten clean green image
Before Kaimai Ridgeway Trust volunteers began working on the Kaimai Ridgeway in the Kaimai Ranges.

Supplied
Before Kaimai Ridgeway Trust volunteers began working on the Kaimai Ridgeway in the Kaimai Ranges.

10 April, 2016
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Tourists are damaging vegetation and leaving toilet paper scattered around illegal campsites on New Zealand's pristine walks

But critics said a $12.5 million Department of Conservation restructure in September 2013 may be contributing to the problem because tracks and huts were not being maintained.
Forest and Bird campaigns and advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell said the restructure had been "a disaster".
He said DOC had also put a strong focus on getting more volunteers to do the work, and more corporate sponsors to pay for it.
"There was an unrealistic view from the department that the public could do much of the work. It was bound to fail and I think it has," he said. 

Kaimai Ridgeway Trust volunteers working on the Kaimai Ridgeway in the Kaimai Ranges.
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Kaimai Ridgeway Trust volunteers working on the Kaimai Ridgeway in the Kaimai Ranges.

"We need more staff on the ground and in area offices. You can't ask volunteers to work 40 hour weeks. They can only do so much. We need to have people with skills and experience particularly in saving our threatened species."
A review by Australian consultancy Taribon in 2014, which included a survey of DOC staff, slated the restructure, blaming it for a breakdown in communication, inefficiencies, leadership difficulties and preventing DOC achieving its goal of significant steps towards conservation gains. 
Green Party conservation spokesman Kevin Hague said the Government needed to reverse the "savage cuts" or more tracks would have to close.
Kaimai Ridgeway Trust volunteers working on a neglected hut in the Kaimai Ranges.
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Kaimai Ridgeway Trust volunteers working on a neglected hut in the Kaimai Ranges.
"Under this government, DOC has endured job cuts and funding cuts. Now we're seeing its core work in a national park cut as a result," he said .
DOC's operational funding was cut in the 2015 Budget by $8.7m, he said.
After the restructure, the government created a $26m community fund over four years for volunteers to fix dilapidated huts and overgrown tracks. 
The Outdoor Recreation Consortium has so far received $1.1m from DOC's community fund which it has distributed to volunteers to maintain more than 150 back country huts and tracks. 
Tony Walton, of the Auckland Tramping Club, said the Kaimai Ridgeway Trust had used some of that money, and thousands of hours of volunteer work, to regenerate tracks and huts in the Kaimai Ranges which were not being maintained by DOC at all. 
"DOC has a pitiful budget to look after a third of the country. They look after the Great Walks and the tourism hotspots well but much less so in the back country," he said. 
"In the Kaimais people were getting lost because they couldn't find the track. We cleared track that had vegetation shoulder high." 
DOC manages a network of 14,000 km of track in public conservation land that is about a third of New Zealand's land area and is the country's biggest tourism provider.
DOC's Fiordland Te Anau district operations manager, Greg Lind, previously said human waste was a major issue on the Milford, Routeburn and Kepler tracks.
He added that people who could not get a bed in a hut were damaging vegetation and leaving toilet paper scattered around illegal campsites. 
DOC media advisor Leigh-Anne Wiig said "contrary to suggestions" DOC's spending had increased over the past few years. 
It spent $355.5 m last year, up from $304.7m in 2009.
"DOC 's new direction is very firmly focused on how we can better work with others to achieve more for conservation, while at the same time our operations staff are committed to delivering work on the ground," she said. 
"By getting together with others and pooling funding, expertise and resources, DOC can achieve far more for conservation than it could ever do on its own." 
She said DOC invested about $140m a year in recreation, including campsites, tracks and visitor centres.
 - Sunday Star Times




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