INDEPENDENT NEWS

DOC Money Allocation : Who's Driveway Is It?

Published: Tue 22 Aug 2000 01:02 PM
DOC Money Allocation : My Mate’s Driveway Or Kiwis?
Sandra Lee’s decision to allocate scare Department of Conservation funding for a ‘road to nowhere’ private road and separate Maori camp grounds, while ignoring the needs of cash starved alpine facilities reeks of nepotism, said ACT conservation spokesman Gerry Eckhoff.
Today’s Dominion revealed that Conservation Minister Sandra Lee has ordered Urewera National park managers to set up exclusive Maori camping grounds within the park and to spend $260,000 upgrading a no-exit road to land partly owned by the family of Tame Iti.
“Meanwhile the Kiwi continues to disappear from the mainland at a disturbing rate.
“The Department of Conservation is having to abandon basic huts for trampers and recreational campers throughout New Zealand because of serious underfunding. Helen Clark promised that, ‘Labour will urgently review their (the huts) condition with a view to restoring as many as possible to a state which ensures safe access to the back country’.
“Obviously safe access only applies if you’re best mates with the Conservation Minister.
“Ms Lee, as a Minister of the Crown, must respect established democratic principles. Funding formulas remove the ability of Ministers and senior government officials to arbitrarily allocate funds to their friends.
“Otherwise the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra would never need to work again.
“Ms Lee’s unrepentant ease at overriding this democratic and accountable tool of governance raises serious questions on her ability to fulfil a Ministerial role,” said Gerry Eckhoff.
ENDS

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