Documents we've obtained show that the Department of Conservation has spent over $100,000 to send staff overseas to learn a skill not applicable in New Zealand. 47 staff have traveled to Australia to learn how to conduct controlled burn-offs, despite the practice not being used by DoC.
Included in the document is an email from a DoC official regarding the our enquires which suggests a an ‘excuse’ the Department could use for why staff were going on the trips.
Also released is feedback from staff that went the trips, including the admission by one that the group didn’t “really do much fire stuff”, despite that being the apparent purpose of the trip.
We think these trips were just an excuse for a junket, not training that furthers New Zealand’s conservation. They might as well have learned the didgeridoo. We're calling on the the Minister for Conservation should put an end to this ‘controlled-burning' of taxpayers’ hard earned money.DoC response to OIA by New Zealand Taxpayers' Union 18 June 2014