Recent Developments - DOC Privitization Underway!!! (added 13 Dec 2016)
Back in 2013 I predicted on this website the "trajectory" that the corrupted New Zealand Department of Conservation would follow. I said that DOC would start privatising the rights to prime conservation assets so they would benefit the rich. I also said DOC would reinterpret its intended legislated conservation mandate in favour of monetary interests. I therefore draw your attention to the following two items:
1. DOC advocates charging for NZ Great Walks. On Oct 28, 2016 the DOC Director General Lou Sanson was reported by Radio NZ advocating charging people to walk our Great Walks. Then on Dec 12 a report commissioned from four major New Zealand's tourism leaders mooted the possibility of privatising the country's Great Walks. Press button below to see media items.
2. DOC appeals to the NZ Supreme Court against halting the Ruataniwha Dam. On 28 Sept 2016 it was reported by Radio NZ that DOC was now appealing to the Supreme Court to have the High Court ruling overturned that the irrigation dam was "unlawful". (I really ask how DOC taking legal action to our highest court to support a dam across a major waterway that is going to favour intensive farming practices is actually DOC "advocating" for conservation in terms of section 6 (b) of the Conservation Act!)
This website is dedicated to the people of New Zealand retaining ownership and effective conservation management of our great outdoors. It is also dedicated to opposing any corrupt political actions that undermine these goals.
The website was originally set up in 2013 after I left my career in the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC). I set up the site then in an attempt to make New Zealanders aware of the privatization process that I believed was happening to their national and forest parks that cover nearly a third of our nation.
My belief now, which is supported by evidence on this site, is that DOC is an organisation crippled by corrupt political interference and inadequate funding. As a result, I think the organisation is no longer capable of effectively doing its job as the public service responsible for national conservation under law and according to the expectations of most New Zealanders.
I think that when the current National government with their underlying neo-liberal ideology are ultimately removed from power there needs to be a thorough and transparent public review of the expectations, purpose and funding of DOC.
Bob Boardman Rotorua 6 March 2016
Press the button below if you wish to better understand my motives in developing this website
Mind the Gap In my view, neo-liberal ideology is the core driver of the current NZ Government. A good place to begin in gaining an understanding of the effects of this ideology is Brian Bruce's "Mind The Gap" TV3 documentary that talks about the growing gap between the rich and poor in New Zealand. This can be activated by clicking the arrow. (Note - it takes about 10 seconds for the sound to start.) If you would like more insights also press the button "Understanding Neo-Liberal Ideology"
By the time that I left DOC in April 2013 there had been what seemed like perpetual restructurings (6 in 4 years) and the following events had occurred:
DOC had just adopted as its operating model: “A full-on commercial business approach run on the basis of supply and demand”.(Personally I found this bizarre considering DOC was a public service dealing with conservation).
DOC’s Director General appears to have re-interpreted the principal law that the Department was tasked with upholding (the Conservation Act) in regard to its relationship with the NZ Tourism industry. In my view this was to pave the way for actions such as our Tourism Minister (also our Prime Minister) to announce massive new overseas investments in NZ Tourism infrastructure (eg. US$10 to 20 billion from the Chinese).
DOC had adopted a policy whereby the structure of its organisation was to become 60 percent of staff devoted to “Partnerships” and only 40 percent of staff would be “Operational” (doing work on the ground). The task of the “Partnerships” staff was to develop partnerships with big business, iwi, community groups, volunteers etc to finance the bulk of DOC’s operational work. (While this concept certainly had merits its execution wasn’t just “a bridge too far” but more like parachuting into Berlin.)
I have degrees in forestry and theology. Although I had previously earned good money working for some of the largest commercial forestry companies in the country I had come to adopt a career in DOC out of idealism. My departure from DOC was therefore an acrimonious "divorce" stemming from the fact that I personally, professionally and philosophically opposed the new direction of the organisation. Because of my opposition I believe a group of managers conspired to bully me and this resulted in a total breakdown of the working relationship.
Having observed plainly questionable decisions by executive and senior management teams consisting principally of "professional managers" and sycophants it was not difficult to predict the outcome. I personally describe my experience of what happened in DOC as like a slow moving train wreck. This "train wreck" outcome for the organisation has been proved by subsequent consultant reports and major organisational backtracks reported in the media. (The buttons below display examples.)
The most unfortunate thing in my opinion, is that most people still don’t “get it” that all the change processes in DOC were a smokescreen, a deception. In my view, the current outcome in DOC is not a failed exercise in saving costs nor a failed experiment in trying a new way to do conservation.
I think the evidence indicates that the whole exercise was highly successful in undermining the legal and organisational infrastructure that limits private and overseas investment in conservation assets that would support growth in tourism. While to many people this may appear not to be a bad thing, I think the trajectory that needs to be considered is, who will ultimately control (“own”) those conservation assets in 20-30 years’ time?
Who will end up owning the rights to our "Lord of the Rings" national parks, beautiful great walks, beaches, ski-fields, hunting and numerous other potential income earning attractions? Who will be able to afford to use these assets? Will it be NZ citizens or wealthy overseas investors and tourists?
I personally have moved on to a new career and am enjoying life again. However, I am never going to forget what has happened at DOC (or how I and others were mistreated). It may take another 20 years for enough New Zealanders to realise what has been done and seek answers. Until then, it is a minimal cost for me to keep this website running and seek to improve it over time.