Mike Meads – An Honest Scientist

Sue Grey is trying to follow up DoC research on recommendations by Mike Meads related to the impact of 1080 on insects, bats, lizards and other invertebrates. The Department has not been cooperative.

1080 has a major effect on insect populations

Mike Meads

Dr Mike Meads’ published research in 1994 when he was employed by the NZ government, indicating that 1080 poison has a significant impact on insects.

He emphasized that that more research was required to assess wider effects- presumably on the insects themselves and also as part of the food chain for native birds and other species.

In his report of June 1994 (DoC Report 1414) Dr Meads recommended:

Investigations on the effects of this poison on non-target species has mostly been confined to its direct impact on birds, with little or no research on the effects on lizards, bats, or invertebrates.

Few studies have dealt with the direct impact of 1080 on native insects and other invertebrates, and there is no research on the effect of 1080 on populations or communities of invertebrate species….”

Requests for information

Lou Sanson CEO of DoC

I recently sent an OIA request to Lou Sanson the CEO of DoC and to the Minister of Conservation asking: Please could you provide:

  1. copies of all research undertaken by or commissioned by DoC and/or MPI (or their predecessors) to follow up this recommendation by the government’s then expert Dr Meads and
    2. copies of analysis of the impacts of poisoning of insects and invertebrates by 1080 on the food chain, native birds, wild foods, food products such as honey, and on NZ’s clean green reputation and reputation for food integrity, and accordingly impacts on food experts, tourism and the wider economy.

have been unable to find Dr Mead’s report or any research or analysis of this type I’ve requested on DoC or MPI’s website (other than the warnings associated with consuming trout that may have been exposed to 1080 within the previous week) .

If this information is available to the public and to researchers without waiting for the OIA process, please could you provide a link or links to help locate it.

Thank you for your help.
Sue Grey LLB(Hons), BSc, RSHDipPHI

(Mike Meads’ findings were clearly not popular with DoC and he was later drummed out of Landcare and discredited. His follow-up to his own earlier research in the Whitecliffs areas on the effect of 1080 on invertebrates was declared invalid and never published. See more detail in Fiona McQueen’s The Quiet Forest, chapter 4,)

Mike Meads has a good reputation as an entomologist. But his study of 1080 and invertebrates at Whitecliffs was flawed to the extent of being unpublishable. His experiment was rendered invalid by several mistakes – he moved 1080 baits because he didn’t think there were enough baits present from the 1080 drop, hence he greatly increased the dosage; his choice of pitfall traps were only valid for determining presence of species, not numbers; his control area showed the same patterns of insect presence as his treatment area, and he then ad-hoc claimed that the control area had experienced 1080 dust. In other words, the experiment was a mess. Do please read Meads’ report, and the peer review, to understand these flaws.

You can find Meads’ report, and the peer review, here:

By the way, Meads was not martyred. His department was relocated and he and several others did not want to move, so he retired.

Sue Grey has issued an OIA request asking DOC to provide her with the research on 1080 and invertebrates since Meads’ report was rejected. This is a novel approach to doing a document search, and I believe that only research that DOC itself has done would come within the scope of the OIR. May I recommend https://scholar.google.co.nz/ as a better tool. For example a search on “sodium fluoroacetate effect on invertebrates nz” produced many interesting results.

DOC Biodiversity Division never wanted Mike Meads study to see the light of day, as it showed the huge impact 1080 pellets had on the leaf litter and invertebrates therein. They refused to put into print even though it had been successfully peer reviewed! The Scientist they engaged to do another study actually approached Mike Meads whom helped him with the design on how to conduct the study! This study was never actually completed (to my knowledge) therefore no conclusion should have been reached but, of course DOC got it peer reviewed by another captured lot of scientists (I believe) and tried to make Mike Meads study a farce! Overseas if a study is believed to be possibly incorrect, they do an identical study and let it arrive at it’s conclusion fully to prove or disprove a previous study. Hell not with DOC involved!!! Mike was ridiculed and forced out of his job!

Good luck with eliciting a response from DOC. This research is badly needed and DOC should have undertaken it many years ago. If they have, one can only assume it to be so unfavourable to their anti-exotic religious fanaticism that it had to be buried. If they haven’t done so only amplifies how inept and driven by zealotry they truly are.


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