Time for a positive emphasis
By Roger Childs
The reign of the arrogant Maggie Barry is now over and the new Minister is Green MP Eugenie Sage.
The former Minister was a staunch advocate of 1080 poisoning and also helped launch the ludicrously named Predator Free New Zealand.
Hopefully with the new government in office and fresh leadership in the Department of Conservation (DoC), there can be a shift in policy from killing to preservation.
A recent letter to the editor of the DomPost, from a Kapiti resident, quoted figures from DoC about the many deaths of bird of the year kea, from 1080 poisoning.
The carnage needs to stop.
Stop poisoning the land
The sad reality is that over 50 years of dropping sodium fluoroacetate has probably killed more birds than it has saved. Unfortunately, DoC nailed its colours to the mast in the late 20th century and would obviously suffer a huge loss of face if it admitted that it had been wrong all these years.
However, they need to put themselves through it for the sake of the wildlife. Obviously there are vested interests in the 1080 industry who won’t be happy.
Some time ago Investigate ran an article called What’s Up Doc? questioning the wisdom of continuing to use 1080 when most of the world bans it. Unfortunately mainstream media are reluctant to cover the topic, a situation that is timid and very sad.
New Zealand First supports a ban, and hopefully Minister Sage can bite the bullet.
Time to end the Predator Free New Zealand nonsense
Predator: an animal that hunts, eats and kills other animals. Cambridge Dictionary
The natural world of fauna is based around food chains and predators. It is a reality of nature that big birds/animals/fish/insects eat smaller ones. So the name for the programme to get rid of pests is illogical and has made the country a laughing stock in the scientific world.
One of the key targets for Predator Free New Zealand is the possum which as a herbivore is no predator. It is also an important resource.
Possum industries employ 1500 people and earn more than $130 million each year. Demand for products such as clothing, gloves, footwear, furnishing, cat food and dog rolls is increasing.
So Eugenie, let’s terminate Predator Free New Zealand and give the possum a fair go!
Common sense about exotics
In recent years there has been a big push to plant native trees, shrubs and flaxes. Hundreds of conservation organisations around the country have been working hard to increase the greening of New Zealand. This is great, but often there has been a reluctance to plant exotics.
Some of the organisations have been called restoration groups, but this term makes no sense as there is no way that we can restore the massive areas of forests early Polynesian immigrants, and later British and European settlers, burned and cleared.
We have a huge forestry industry which is largely based on a tree that is native to northern California. No-one is suggesting rooting these out.
Let’s get a balance on what we plant and acknowledge that the tree covered environment of centuries ago cannot be restored.
Obviously it is desirable to reduce gorse, wild blackberry and some other undesirable imports, but let’s support the concept that a mixed pattern of native and exotic flora and fauna in our ecosystem, is a very acceptable reality.
Hopefully our new Minister of Conservation can provide leadership in promoting practical and sensible environmental policies in relation to 1080, Predator Free NZ and exotic planting.