1080 Fire: Part 1

(This is the first of three articles about 1080 storage and how things can go terribly wrong.)

Storing poison often illegally

 By Mary Wood and Ann Hunt

A series of responses from Official Information Act (OIA) questions to Fire and Emergency NZ, Mid Central District Health Board, WorksafeNZ and Horizons Council have highlighted the shocking dangers that the public are still being subjected to – 34 years after the tragic events at a fire at an ICI chemical store at Mount Wellington, Auckland.

Public concerns about the risks from the New Zealand Government’s continued widespread use of pesticides that are banned in much of the rest of the world, are regular debates.

But what of the risks to health from poisons like 1080 even BEFORE they are spread by helicopters over our land and water?

Poison stored all over the country

Well, many tonnes of the poisonous cereal baits and perhaps even the highly toxic raw poison itself has to be stored somewhere.

 Fire & Emergency NZ tell us there are over 700 such ‘highly hazardous’ storage sites nationally. But they’re just the ones they know about; some sites are deliberately kept secret.

It’s true that there are Health and Safety Laws – constantly being updated – that attempt to increase accountability and decrease the disproportionately high numbers of work-related deaths and illnesses in New Zealand.

The Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017, Section 3.2 spells out how those involved with storing extremely toxic chemicals like  Compound 1080 should be ‘Managing risks associated with hazardous substances’. That includes aspects like being responsible for the

“..health and physico-chemical hazards associated with the hazardous substance, any potential chemical or physical reaction between hazardous substances and any ignition sources that might ignite the hazardous substance”.

That’s because, when burnt, 1080 poison generates extremely toxic Hydrogen Fluoride gases and in such an event, an evacuation maybe necessary to limit public health risks.

What happens before the laying of poison?

Prior to aerial application, the New Zealand Dept of Conservation (DoC) our councils and commercial sites often store tonnes of 1080 and other highly toxic poisons like Brodifacoum, illegally.

For instance, a 1080 storage site at Tua Marina near Blenheim has apparently been without any valid risk assessment and associated emergency plan since 2016. And similarly, in October 2017, prior to a poisoning operation in the Coromandel, 23 tonnes of 1080 poison was stored in a public carpark near a supermarket in Whitianga CBD.

Neither the Fire Services nor the local DHB had been informed. These are only two that have come to the authors’ attention; no doubt there are numerous other high-risk sites throughout New Zealand.

Does anyone care?

But no-one seems to care about the risks, even when the Health and Safety at Work (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2017 sections 2.11 clearly states it is the “duty of the Person Conducting the Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to obtain and provide access to Manufacturer’s Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)”.

That includes short summaries for the Emergency Services.

Despite highlighting these concerns, mainstream media repeatedly refuses to publish details of these dangerous activities; reasons for this are unclear.

(To be continued.)


I myself love photographing Birds, I have been doing it all my life, I did extensive Travel in South Is. when I was young,
I have just returned from a Photography trip in Fiordland, So Sad the 1080 Poison has killed so many of the Birds,
I only got 3 Good photos of Birds, compared with 50odd in the 1970s, What I did see a lot of, was 1080 Poison Signs

Just the Single fact that 1080 Poison Kills so Slowly means that DOC is Breaking NZ Law, Not to mention the Millions of Native Birds they are Killing and The Native Fish in our Streams,- When they Killed 15 People at Cave Creek, No one was held accountable. 1080 Poison is a Money Making Racket for them. and they are a Law unto themselves

My partner and I asked Jacinda Ardern and Eugenie Sage about where is the law that says the department of conservation is allowed to kill native species with 1080?
She replied that there is no law allowing them to kill native species. They call the accidental death of native species by 1080 poisoning ” bye kill”. 30 years ago some public servant decided to break the law of this land to allow them to be lazy in their pest control methods. As a New Zealander who was born here and have watched the steady degradation of our environment by a government department that put itself above the law. It is illegal to kill native species in New Zealand and it is punishable with a fine upto $100,000.00 per kiwi , or 1 year in prison. The department of conservation owes New Zealanders a huge reparation for exterminating our native species and our environment . All so someone can make money at our children’s expense. Our governments have allowed this to happen for 30 years . The department of conservation should be disbanded . We should not be using 1080 in our environment at all.

You might wish to check the right rule book.
The transport and short term storage of dangerous goods is governed by the New Zealand Standard
5433:2012 Transport of dangerous goods on land, which is also known as the Land Transport Rule: Dangerous Goods 2005 (including amendments).
Note this permits the transport of Dangerous Goods and storage in transit, which may have been the case in the Whitianga incident quoted. Once the product is loaded on a truck it is a Land Transport matter, not the EPA.

It seems DoC are continuously breaking the law and getting away with it and work health and safety may as well be disbanded as they allow it to happen. So many lives put at risk yet if a painter dared paint a house without scaffolding (endangering only himself) he’d be charged. God help us all!


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