Department of Conservation (DoC) warns skippers
From Carol Sawyer
Skippers are not to warn tourists about the dangers of drinking the water after aerial 1080 drop in Milford Sound area earlier this month.
Milford Sound (Arthur, Sinbad and Cleddau Valleys) was aerially poisoned on 15 October, 2019.
Pam Vernon reports (15 October, 2019) “A reader at the Envirowatch Rangitikei site today commented about warning the tourists on the dangers of drinking the water.”
“Hi there. My brother works as a skipper for one of the biggest tourism companies in Milford and one of the skippers warned the customers on the mic and a DoC member was on the boat and got seriously offended called her boss then doc warned the company gave them a chewing. The company forced all skippers to say nothing at all or risk consequences. The company is afraid of the bad side of DoC because that’s who gives them their consent to cruise in Milford. Blackmail against freedom of speech. This is real as of the other day.”
Another person said, (14 October, 2019, 1080 Eyewitness):
“DOC poisoning operation in Milford tomorrow. Who the hell gives DoC the right to poison our only water supply, the Bowen Falls? 650,000 tourists come here every year to view this pristine environment, if only they knew….”
I’m told the Bowen Falls are in the drop zone, and the whole township at Milford Sound and all the tourist boats are supplied by water from that source.
OIA responses from Southern District Health Board and DoC state there is a buffer zone round the Milford water intake which they regard as sufficient.
The 1080 dangers to the local water supply
The Milford Sound water intake is approximately 200m above the Bowen Falls, and I’m told the intake is only about 100m inside the top end of the buffer zone (yellow area on map). Helicopters were seen working along that face. Helicopter pilots tell me 250m is a minimum buffer zone for safety, and more if on a slope, as baits tumble into valleys. Poisoned carcasses will inevitably end up in that waterway, as well, providing further contamination.
Put it this way… I wouldn’t be drinking that water!
According to Leslie McGrath, the Dept of Conservation will not bring water tankers in to supply safe water because it is “too expensive”!