DOC is getting rid of 56 staff after overspending its budget by $8 million.
I wonder how much of that overspend is attributable to the increase in the DOC estate as a result of the tenure review process?
I have tried unsuccessfully to find out how much DOC budgets for weed and pest control, repairs and maintenance on the extra land it has taken over. Whatever the amount, I have contradictory concerns about it: first that it is costing tax payers too much; and second that it isn’t enough to do the job properly which will lead to an increase in pests, weeds and fire danger on DOC land and neighbouring properties.
Labour and its Green allies believe that state ownership is the best way to protect the high country and have spent a huge amount acquiring vast tracts of land. Tax payers would get better value and the land would be better protected if DOC worked with farmers instead of trying to spread their overstretched resources across even more land.
The tax payer bears the cost of buying the land and then has to pay for maintaining it, a cost previously covered by the farmer.
I’d back farming families who have stewarded vulnerable high country eco-systems for generations to do a better job than an overstretched Government department, and at no cost to the tax payer.
Declaration of bias: we own a pastoral lease property but are not undertaking tenure review.