Newly appointed Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said she would have intervened if Auckland Council had decided against using 1080 in the Hunua Ranges. New Zealand Herald
A bright spot in the new cabinet?
Editorial by Roger Childs
At last we have a gardening expert as Minister of Conservation! The elevation of one term MP, the popular and talented Maggie Barry, to the front benches is good news. She could now make history by bringing about a paradigm shift in DoC policy, away from the outdated and flawed Cockayne culture of trying to eliminate all exotic browsers in our forests.
Into the bargain she could end the poisoning of our land with the lethal 1080. She sets a good example at home: From garden show days . . . as well as to this day I try not to spray anything. It’s time to apply that to the nation, Maggie. Think again on 1080 and take time to do the research.
1080 and the election
Ban 1080 was an election issue, even if had difficulty getting traction against the other sort of “dirty politics”, Dotcom and spying allegations. The Ban1080 Party was registered and featured on the ballot paper for all to see. Two other parties – New Zealand First and United Future – promised to ban 1080 and it will be interesting to see if Peter Dunne puts pressure on the government to do so. Don’t hold your breath.
Amazingly the Greens actually support the limited use of 1080!
This was an election where the ‘party vote’ was crucial in deciding the government, so it was interesting that over 5000 people decided to give that vote to Ban1080. This was almost as many votes as those garnered by United Future.
There are obviously plenty of people out here who care about DoC’s continuing to poison the land and kill anything that breathes oxygen.
Playing politics with 1080
Earlier this year in a letter to our editor, Blair stated: 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 government has a large vested interest in continuing the dropping of the lethal pellets and New Zealand remains by far the biggest user of the poison on the planet. (We use over 85% !) Most states in the US ban it as do many countries around the world.
Unfortunately to justify the continuing use of the poison, there is a lot of dishonesty coming from the pro-1080 lobby groups.
- DoC’s justification in continuing 1080 drops is based on shonky figures and scientific reports that would not stand up to serious peer review. There is a lot of emphasis on 1080 breaking down quickly, being humane and not affecting the wider ecosystem. These conclusions are not backed up with credible evidence.
- When they have used other scientists there are different conclusions. DOC commissioned independent research into the risk, finding 1080 levels in trout flesh were significantly higher than recognised food safety guidelines. “The Press” 26 September 2014
- Earlier in the year Conservation Minister, Nick Smith, had talked of the need to deal with a plague of mice and rats of biblical proportions which would result from beech seed masting in the spring. Not only was there no evidence, or photographs to support this bold claim, but the minister did not have an accurate analogy from the “good book”. The Bible makes no reference to plagues of rats, perhaps he meant locusts and there you are talking about billions.
- The claims about a “plague” duped some of the national media and the DomPost wrote a stirring editorial vigorously supporting increased 1080 drops.
- A joint Federated Farmers – Forest and Bird website purporting to give 1080 THE FACTS still uses a bogus photo “from” Nga Manu in Waikanae showing a possum eating bird chicks. The photographer later admitted that the picture was staged in the bush near Ohau.
Time to get real and honest
In 2010 a report came out from two American scientists, Patricia and Quinn Whiting-OKeefe, who independently investigated the 1080 industry and the impact of dropping the poison on New Zealand forests. Amongst their conclusion were the following:
It is time that every New Zealander demand the truth from DoC and it is time to demand that the use of aerial 1080 be discontinued until the real effect of 1080 on us, our forest ecosystems and our environment is demonstrated to be beneficial by competent and independent scientific research.
Our forests, their inhabitants, our international reputation as an environmentally sane nation and perhaps our own long-term health are at stake.
Then earlier this year Janice Eaton, a nature lover from Motueka, wrote an open letter to the highly influential Environmental Commissioner, which started as follows:
In your role as Parliamentary Commissioner of the Environment, you carry immense responsibility. You will be remembered, long after tenure, as the saviour of New Zealand birds (if you are correct in your 1080 stance) or as the person responsible for the greatest ecological holocaust of the century. Open letter to Jan Wright, from Janice Eaton
(For the full transcript of this excellent letter see http://community.scoop.co.nz/2014/02/open-letter-to-dr-jan-wright-commissioner-for-environment/)
The 1080 issue is not going away
This month has seen 1080 continuing in the news:
- Anglers told trout from 1080 catchment edible. “New Zealand Herald”
- Planned 1080 drop over Hunua Ranges concerns local iwi. Maori TV
- Al Nisbet had a classic cartoon in the “Sunday Star Times”. It showed a local wildlife meeting with a two headed eel exclaiming Thank God for Ten Eighty…We’d never survive without it! Beside him was a kiwi with a knot in his beak, a fish with three eyes, a bird with three feet and a snail and a weta each with three eyes. In the background a helicopter was doing its poison drop.
Perhaps the government could give us a good news story on 1080.
New Minister of Conservation, Maggie Barry, could make a difference. She ran a highly popular and informative television garden show, which many readers will remember. Her views on the 1080 drop in the Hunua Ranges are a knee jerk response. After carefully considering the realities , she could help restore our reputation as a green and pleasant land by banning the use of the poison.
(KIN has been a consistent opponent of the continuing use of 1080. We have run several articles, including two by our Turangi correspondent Leslie Clague. If you want to track down these items, just SEARCH 1080 top right.
Two of the best written sources on the topi c are:
- The Third Wave: Poisoning The Land by W F Benfield See: http://trosspublishing.co.nz/
- What’s up DoC? in “Investigate” Feb/March 2014 See: http://www.investigatemagazine.co.nz/Investigate/4782/whats-up-doc/)