Tararua 1080 Drops Meet Strong Opposition

Report by Hugh Francis

Opposition is swelling against government and local body plans to dowse the Tararua Ranges with 1080 poison.
Latest is opposition by a Horowhenua iwi to a 1080 drop by OSPRI. in the Tararua Range east of Levin. Opponents to the drop sanctioned by the Department of Conservation say they are not being listened to.
The operational area covers about 42,000 ha from the western side of the Tararua Range near Manakau to the eastern side of the Tararua Range near the  Wairarapa National Wildlife Centre at Mt Bruce. 
Another 1080 operation by the Greater Wellington Regional Council is scheduled for the Tararua Ranges, east of Waikane.
But conservationists and scientists have strongly crticised the plans.
Scientist Jim Hilton said the long term effects of 1080 are disastrous.
DoC has been poisoning the land with 1080 for over 60 years and there is no peer reviewed evidence that it has done any good he said. 
“On the contrary, there is plenty of research and anecdotal evidence to suggest that sodium fluoroacetate (1080), which was developed as an insecticide, has killed tens of thousands of birds and a major item of their diet – millions of insects.”
The interference of people in the ecosystem throws natural interactions out of balance added Jim Hilton.
Rat and Stoat Plagues
Conservationist Tony Orman who has personal knowledge of the Tararua Ranges from the 1950s, said the 1080 drops would severely disrupt ecological equilibrium. 
Landcare Research studies showed surviving rats – usually about 20% and being super-prolific breeders –  exploded in numbers and within three to four years, numbers were four times pre-poison levels. Stoats preying on rats in turn mushroomed in numbers.
“All DOC and the Greater Wellington Council will achieve apart from birds killed, will be rat and stoat plagues. It is absolutely bizarre and irresponsible by DOC, OSPRI and the Greater Wellington Council,” he added.
Scientist Jim Hilton described use of aerial poisons like 1080 as “an expensive exercise in futility, financially unsustainable, ecologically unsustainable and not doing the job of saving species at all. It is killing them, some faster than others.” 
Maori iwi have joined in the opposition.
Hapū of Horowhenua iwi Muaūpoko are questioning the value of consultation after a recent hui with the Department of Conservation (DoC) ahead of a planned drop of 1080 poison in the Tararua Ranges.
DOC Not Listening?
More than 60 people from different Muaūpoko hapū attended the meeting in Levin Memorial Hall earlier this month at the invitation of DoC and its Project Kaka partners OSPRI.
According to reports, those at the Levin hui listened and engaged with DoC and OSPRI representatives but following the hui were unanimously opposed to the 1080 aerial poisoning.
Vivienne Taueki said she questioned the value of consultation and believed DoC was going to forge ahead with the 1080 plans regardless of any concerns raised at the meeting.
“We are not being listened to,” she said.
“It reflects the attitudes on where our interests lie.”
Vivinene Taueki said it had now forced members of the iwi into a reactive position where they were now considering applying for an injunction to have the planned 1080 poison drop stopped.
Trapping Viable?
Another attendee said people had been pushed into the background by censorship and by a government that does not want the public to know what [1080] is doing.
Waikanae local Aaron Kerr has lived in the area all his life and trapped and hunted in the Tararua ranges for 30 years, including time spent living in the bush. He said trapping is a far better solution to eradicating possums than poison.
Tony Orman said it was very questionable the possum was a pest. It was proven in 2016 from figures the then Minster of Primary Industries supplied in Parliament that Tb infection of possums is virtually zero. In addition New Zealand’s bovine Tb infection rates are so low, way below World Health Organisation yardstick, that New Zealand was one of the most Tb free countries in the world.
Possum Not a Predator
“As for foliage impact. Landcare Research told DOC many years ago, that the possum browses only a very minor percentage of the national forest’s foliage production. The DOC notion of a herbivore possum preying on birds and eggs has been thoroughly debunked. It’s so ridiculous as to be absurd,” he added.
But offialdom seems deaf. 
The Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Catchment General Manager, Wayne O’Donnell said “If we leave them (possums) unchecked we will see significant degradation of the forest environment and the habitats it provides for a wide range of regionally and nationally significant native plants, birds and animals”.

© Aerial 1080 – opposition strong but government deaf?




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7 Responses to Tararua 1080 Drops Meet Strong Opposition

  1. THE DEPT OF CONSERVATION NOW RANKS AS THE WORLD’S BEST ELIMINATOR OF ENDEMIC NEW ZEALAND WILDLIFE. ONE ONLY HAS TO LOOK AT WHAT HAS HAPPENED AT MT BRUCE – 20K’S FROM WHERE I WRITE THIS. THERE ARE NOW NO KIWI OR KAKA IN THE MT BRUCE BUSH – ALL HAVE BEEN MURDERED BY DOC.
    THE SOONER DOC IS ELIMINATED THE BETTER.
    DR NEIL HAYES QSM FRSA CEnv

  2. Peter Trolove says:

    DOC’s poisoning for conservation is an oxymoron, especially when 1080 kills everything.
    Blanket aerial poisoning of tens of thousands of hectares is truly mindless.
    At least OSPRI is learning to use 1080 in a targeted manner with the legitimate purpose of managing bovine TB.

  3. Bud JonesQSM says:

    DOC does not understand the basic concept of ecosystem function, & now lead the world in eradicating native species & lowering others to extinction risk levels.They should be in a global environment court and fined $millions.
    Bud JonesQSM
    Nireaha 3km from proposed 1080 drop &suffered animaL LOSSES from previous 1080 operations in the area.

  4. Charles Henry says:

    Wellington Regional Council also plans to bombard the locally renowned Akatarawa Forest with 1080.

    Since the early ‘90s, I have watched in disbelief and disappointment the eradication of much of the Forest’s wildlife.

    Gone now are the birds and the fish.

    Whilst the deer and possum have disappeared as intended, but so have the glow-worms that provided nightly entertainment. The swallows skimming over the river, inches from the surface are no more and the annual silence when one would have expected a cacophony of cicada calls around February each year.

    Now we hear that to save a few aged Rata, everything else must die – yet the Rata have survived perfectly well for more than 100 years alongside possum and deer with no ill-effect. Indeed, it could be said that Rata evolved alongside Moa who would browse along the lines of both Possum and Deer.

  5. Lewis Hore says:

    I think the continued use of 1080 poison is a cheap and easy way for DoC to get rid of deer they don’t give a toss about the by kill of birds or insects.

  6. Alex Cubro says:

    This is so irresponsible by DOC in that it is well documented 1080 kills native life from insects to birds. In other words, they knowingly kill native wild life. If you or I killed one native bird even accidentally, we would be heavily fined. This is so senseless. Unjust.
    Why are not DOC charged with breaking Wild Life Act?
    Why is Greater Wellington Council getting into the grubby 1080 business?
    GWRC spokesman O’Donnell would not have a clue.

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