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DoC staff in limbo while axe hovers

By Trevor Quinn

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More than 20 staff members from the Department of Conservation in the Wairarapa region are facing a painful "period of uncertainty" in relation to their jobs.

Area manager Chris Lester told the Wairarapa Times-Age he was not able to offer any comfort to more than 20 employees who are anxiously awaiting details of restructuring plans.

He confirmed that the plans will be unveiled to staff next Friday, April 12.

Early last week Director-General of Conservation Al Morrison made an announcement that the Department of Conservation will axe 140 jobs and reduce the number of conservancy regions in a department-wide shake-up.

Staff were informed of the proposals last week but they will not be told about the departmental decisions until next week.

Mr Lester said he expected the Wairarapa region would be affected in a similar way to other regions around New Zealand.

"Everywhere will be affected and similarly Wairarapa is no exception.

There is a consultation period in a number of weeks and final numbers will be known after that."

A department spokesman said that on April 12 staff will receive a restructuring document outlining the details of the changes and they will then discuss the changes with management.

"I think we need to be patient and wait until the staff [meeting]," Mr Lester said.

"The staff are facing a period of uncertainty and I'm not able to offer any certainty at all around the review."

Before Christmas, staff were told by the department that the extent of any possible job losses was unknown.

Last week it was announced that 140 jobs will be cut primarily in regional management and administration, however 22 job losses are expected to be operational in areas such as asset management, planning and inspection.


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