• Nik Smith

The Minister of Conservation Nick Smith today announced that the government has approved funding to meet the costs of conservancy restructuring. None of the core work of the Department will be affected by the changes.

"This restructuring is all about addressing the deficiencies identified in the wake of Cave Creek. An Oversight Group was appointed last year to review the Department of Conservation. It has recommended major changes in the way in which the Department of Conservation is organised and operated."

The first phase of these changes was implemented in January and involved major changes to head office. Government approved $6.25m for restructuring of which $2m was not spent in the last financial year. The cabinet has agreed to approve a further $2.5m to implement the second phase of the restructuring which involves changes to the 13 conservancies. This funding will be provided through supplementary estimates.

"Restructuring is always a difficult period for any organisation but the deficiencies identified from Cave Creek could not be ignored. I am determined to see the restructuring concluded as quickly as possible to remove any uncertainty and to enable the Department to move forward and focus on the future."