Leslie Clague’s Column

leslie clague‘Some books change your life!’

…and why 1080 is a disaster

By Leslie Clague
Former District Librarian for Kapiti

 Some books change your life. The book with this capacity for me in 2013 was W. F. Benfield’s ‘The Third Wave: Poisoning the Land,’ (Tross Publishing, Wellington).

Having retired to Turangi, taking walks in native forests, along Department of Conservation walkways, is a major pastime. Only often we are struck by the silence of the forest around us.

‘There was a cacophany of bird song’

My husband came to New Zealand in the 1960s and he notes that then there was a cacophony of bird song where now there is only the occasional fantail calling or a tui spitting.

Living in Turangi we also have notices in the local paper when 1080 is going to be dropped on the surrounding hillsides. We have watched the helicopters spreading the poison over the face of Pihanga, the female volcano that shelters the town.

I decided I wanted to learn more about 1080 and looked it up in the Taupo District Libraries catalogue. Hence I found Mr. Benfield’s book. (Sorry, but Kapiti Libraries do not have a copy of The Third Wave in their collections; it can be obtained through the SMART library partnership.)

Bill Benfield is an architect by profession and a keen environmentalist. He owns a vineyard and winery in Martinborough. The Third Wave grew out of his love for New Zealand’s environment.

The title of the book comes from the waves of human activity in New Zealand and the impact on the unique flora and fauna of this land. The first wave is Maori settlement, the second wave is European arrivals and the third wave was created by one man’s obsession to re-create a world that never really existed.

The history of research and science done to justify various practices to protect the environment is thoroughly covered.

The history of 1080

And the history of 1080, originally developed as an insecticide in the U.S., is also carefully shared.

The shock for me was that New Zealand uses 90% of the world’s supply of 1080. It has been banned in almost every country and is only used in the state of Wyoming in the U.S. (to battle coyotes) and here in our ‘pristine’ land.

The other horror is that animals, birds, insects ingesting 1080 die a slow, excruciating death.

The game plan seems to be to kill off all life in our forests and then re-introduce those native birds raised in Forest and Bird sanctuaries, back into the wild.

The problem with this scenario is that fast breeders, like rats and stoats, recover quickly and continue to grow in numbers.

Benfield’s book is intelligent, thorough and I think, a must read.

Until someone actually makes a big deal over the company importing 1080 into NZ being owned 50/50 by the environmental and finance ministers it will continue to be used. The people using it believe that if a scientist comes to a conclusion,puts it to paper then has it peer reviewed then it is beyond reproach. The Facebook page : 1080 does the job you don’t has many of these such people and many a person myself included have pointed out the constant failings in these studies only to be labelled as ignorant,talked down to like peasants and eventually when we get to close to the truth for them to handle,booted of the pages. DOC and it’s contractors do not follow the guidelines as stated in the MSDS for 1080 in NZ. Where possible poisoned carcasses are to be removed and buried or burnt. Admittedly some to hard to remove but we all know a lot are very easy to find. It is an animal welfare crime that would see any member of the public jailed.

Poisoning Paradise – Ecocide New Zealand – Festival Version

Published on Dec 3, 2013 – 1:37:43

This New Zealand film has won 4 international environmental awards – but here in NZ, TV channels refuse to play it. Why? Because if they did, there would be outrage and riots over New Zealand’s use of aerially applied 1080 poison. See for yourself .. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yQRuOj96CRs

Nice one on see through the Greens. They are a leading big ones that want more 1080 not less. There is no Green in that only vote gathering……….. They need to man up, start trapping which increases jobs and dose a better job.

The Greens couldn’t ‘man up’ to a urinal.
To condone killing any creature with 1080 makes me disgusted with us.
But then that is me showing ignorance ………………

«As for pointing to our mental failures with scorn or dismay, we might as well profess disappointment with the mechanics of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. In other words, the degree of disillusionment we feel in response to any particular human behavior is the precise measure of our ignorance of its evolutionary and genetic origins.»

– Reg Morrison

Thank you Leslie, you sum up well the case against 1080 as Bill Benfield describes it. Especially the delusion to try and return the NZ ecology to some imagined pristine past as catalogued by early botanists.

Benfield emphasises the point that the NZ ecology was already radically altered by humans when the Europeans came, who proceeded to radically alter it even more. The bombarding of our forests with sodium mono-fluoroacetate, a insecticide poison, is going to alter the balance of microbial and insect life in the forest litter, and affect the fertility of the forests, let alone the health of the insect populations that kiwi and some birds rely on.

On top of that, no one is talking about the unsustainability of this chemical engineering approach to conservation or so-called “predator control” ( forgetting that some native birds are predators too!)

What is the “carbon footprint” of the manufacturing, transport, processing and dispersal by helicopter of 1080, compared to trapping methods I wonder?

And yes the sheer cruelty of the slow agonising death that birds and any animals suffer after ingesting the 1080. There is a huge disconnect in our culture: we ( including the government!) rightfully cry out to save whales from slaughter, yet officialdom turns a blind eye to the cruelty we inflict on wildlife using mass dispersal of 1080.

So thanks Leslie for your review of a book that should be widely read.