A Programme To Poison A Nation 3

Readers will be familiar with the grand mid-year launch of Predator Free NZ by 2050. Our Wairarapa-based ecology expert traces the background on its forerunner: Predator Free New Zealand (pfnz). (To read the first article, scroll down to December 13, and for the second: December 18.)

Such a lunatic scheme …

By Bill Benfield

Henderson Island: the rats are alive and well
Henderson Island: the rats are alive and well

What I find amazing about all this is that supposedly sane, allegedly clever people can buy into such a lunatic scheme.

Not only will it cost around $27 billion and generate a groundswell of public opposition, but on the basis of the many failures of island eradications on simple uninhabited islands like Birnie in the Kiribatis, Henderson south of Pitcairn and Desechio (Puerto Rica), the prospects for the success of pfnz look hopeless.

So far all the activity has been round the edges and pfnz has not yet moved onto large populated areas. Despite a Dominion Post of 24/3/13 three page special on Les Kelly and pfnz, it does not seem to have caused any major public concern so far.

However, the paper article did see public opposition as a likely event, primarily they thought from suburbanites, organic lifestylers and hippies. An even more myopic view is expressed in a thesis by a master’s student under the supervision of Island Eradication proponent, James Russell.

It offers the opinion that opposition will be only from a small group of anti-1080 activists.

Asking for resistence and antipathy?

1080-pure-crueltyJames Russell also stated that pfnz will require the endorsement of the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders (Dominion Post 20/3/13). This ignores the fact that, once such a large and potentially disruptive programme gets underway, it could well create considerable antipathy.

Already we have seen pfnz trustee Gareth Morgan waging war on cat ownership, so ensuring that the nation’s cat lovers will not support anything he advocates.

It is likely that, as the wider population begin to understand the extent and the disruption of pfnz and the consequences for them, there will be further controversy. It will only take a few pictures of innocent pet dogs and other animals suffering the excruciating deaths of 1080 poisoning for any support to swing away from the programme.

Already there is considerable disquiet amongst many rural dwellers about current DoC and Tb Free “pest” control and use of toxins.

An adverse reaction to the poisoners?

pdnzIt is a likely that recalcitrant elements will arise which seek to actively work against pfnz, when they find out about:

They could well successfully undermine it and ensure its failure. City dwellers, who have yet to experience the heavy-handed approach of the poisoners and their contractors, are more likely to be sucked in to pfnz, as they do not understand the issues felt by rural dwellers.

They will have it brought home to them when their suburban gardens become the front line in the war against “pests”.

(The final article will be up over the weekend.)