The results of the Department of Conservation's (DOC) annual survey of New Zealanders' attitudes to conservation show:
- 73% think that conservation should be considered in all key decisions about NZ's future.
- 77% agree that spending money on conservation is a good investment in the prosperity and wellbeing of New Zealanders.
- Only 16% oppose more government spending on conservation, almost half are keen to see more government funding of conservation.
- Only 14% think that DOC is not more interested in commercial activities than it used to be.
The 'Attitudes, engagement and favourability' report by Perception Research obtained by the Green Party was produced in September as part of DOC's National Survey of New Zealanders. It surveyed 3,885 people in June 2012.
"This Government has cut at least $54 million from DOC's budget," said Ms Sage.
"The department's allocation of $335 million in 2012/13 is equivalent to the annual budget of the Hamilton City Council, yet the department manages a third of New Zealand's land area.
"We need to invest in our clean green image by ensuring conservation gets its fair share of funding. Instead this Government seems focused on promoting projects which harm our environment such as Bathurst's proposed Denniston mine and more irrigation and dairying," said Ms Sage.
"Current funding means DOC can carry out pest control on only 1.2 million hectares of the eight million hectares of public land it manages. This is not doing justice to New Zealand's special plants, wildlife and landscapes.
"Funding is a factor in preventing the department from being able to advocate for the environment in many RMA cases, shifting the burden of protecting our environment from government to voluntary community groups and NGOs.
"The survey results confirm that New Zealanders love our treasured places and want them protected."