Government 1080 Drops Costly to the Economy and Ecology

Special report

Aerial drops of 1080 poison are of high cost to both the economy and ecology says an environmental and outdoor recreation advocacy.

The Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust described the frequency of 1080 drops that have recently been carried out by the Department of Conservation as saturating the South h Island’s public lands with an indiscriminate poison that disrupts the ecosystem and  ecological  food chains causing in the short term rat and stoat plagues.

Trust spokesman Laurie Collins said the monetary cost was also of concern given the general state of the economy, extravagant public service spending over the last several years and languishing infrastructure such as the public health sector.

“The aerial drops are indiscriminately dropping poisoned pellets over important walkways such as the Milford, Routeburn and Heaphy Tracks, adversely affecting tourism, both for New Zealanders and international visitors,” he said. “In addition, it’s a poor image for New Zealand particularly for visitors from the numerous countries where 1080 is banned or used only in extremely limited hand laying. Reports indicate New Zealand, despite being a tiny land area, indulges in over 90 percent of the world’s use of 1080.”

Costly in Dollars

Laurie Collins said the expenditure into 1080 drops was into multi-millions of dollars. 

“Figures are difficult to unearth,” he said.”However based on a figure of $80 a hectare from a reputable source, a recent drop in the Cobb area of 156,000 hectares, comes out at $1.25 million.”

That would be replicated at other drops such as public around the Milford Track costing an estimated $3.2 million.

Outdoors author and conservationist Tony Orman said a retired scientist in the Trust had estimated, the cost of poisoning per hectare and based on 2014 figures and updated to consider inflation, to be over $100 per hectare.

He said the department’s official statement on national operator control operations on public land for 2024 was to cover “more than 750,000 hectares.” 

“Using a conservative $80 per ha, that is a total cost of $60 million for this year,” he said. “How many cancer treatments or joint replacements, does that equate to?”

Tony Orman said the department’s continual pleas for more money for 1080 poison drops because of beech mast years was flawed.

“Beech seeding mast years have been happening for millions of years, as long as beech trees have been here. Rats were introduced 200 years ago and everything settled in to equilibrium in predator/prey relationships, until DOC was born and began its mega-1080 drops.”



Laurie Collins – wasteful spending on 1080
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4 Responses to Government 1080 Drops Costly to the Economy and Ecology

  1. Lew says:

    And almost half a million has been spent on catching one stoat. The stoat would have swum back to where it came from when it couldn’t find a mate for a night out either that or died of old age. Nothing said about all the kakapo or other birds it ate.
    DoC are the biggest money wasters in the country. They kill more native species with 1080 than rats or stoats will ever kill.

  2. Stewart Hydes says:

    The frequency and volume of Aerial 1080 being applied here in New Zealand .. quite simply beggars belief.
    Common sense tells us it simply cannot be OK .. to indiscriminately, aerially spread thousands of tonnes .. of a WHO Class 1A ecotoxin .. capable of killing everything that consumes oxygen .. across millions of hectares of otherwise pristine bush and backcountry .. ignoring major Manufacturer’s Warnings, in doing so.
    This is exactly the kind of thinking that has contributed to a greater than 60% reduction in global wildlife since 1970 .. and a 75% reduction in insect biomass, over the past 40 years.
    Our species perverts and corrupts virtually everything it touches .. as somebody tries to greedily make money.
    And what’s worse .. any attempts to fix the disasters we’ve inflicted on our fellow species .. are also perverted and corrupted .. so that somebody can make money out of that, too.

  3. P. Revere says:

    The original estimate for the Predator Free ambition was 9 Billion dollars.
    The most recent I have seen is 18 Billion Dollars.
    I have yet to see any evidence that the “pests” can be eradicated, regardless of how much of our money is spent trying to eradicate them.
    The original Predator Free proposal admitted that it was probably not achievable but “should be tried anyway”.
    OK, it’s been tried, cost twice as much as estimated and has not worked.
    Spending BILLIONS more to keep doing this until 2050 will not change the reality that these introduced species cannot be eradicated, so why waste so much of working peoples’ money?

    Continuing to do more of what does not work (and cannot be afforded) is insanity and a rational person would stop.

    Arguing about the dangers and cruelty of polluting ecosystems with deadly poisons does not achieve anything because too many people prefer to deny it.
    What is more difficult to deny is the ongoing and endless waste of peoples’ money on a project that has not and will not ever be successful.

    Writing to the ministers and our MPs to request fiscal responsibility and a limit on the amount of our money that can be spent on this “vain ambition” might be more difficult to deny or ignore?

    There is no practical benefit for the working people whose money is being wasted on this project.
    Most people have more serious concerns than “some birds” and introduced species that are not bothering them.

    The people in our current government say they will reduce wasteful government spending of OTHER PEOPLES’ MONEY and stopping this Predator Free foolishness is a waste of our money that needs to be stopped.

  4. Bud jones JonesQSM says:

    May I please add another summing up by a brilliant conservationist author William Benfield.Bill held the obvious truism that nature is very much like a spring.It will always return to its default setting Pushing against this no matter the heave of tampering, it will always return to neutral weight of force. Such blind ignorant attempts to re wind this spring to imagined some holy writ, like blanket poisoning with 1080 are futile, expensive & a waste often with un wanted side effects like killing non target animals.
    The spring will always return to perfect balance.

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