On 9 March, TV 3’s ‘AM Show’, host Duncan Garner and sports presenter Mark Richardson went viral against the anti-1080 public.
According to the duo, anti-1080 people are a ‘loud, ignorant, uneducated group” of “extremists”.
The ranting rhetoric by the pair has copped a strong reaction from outdoor people opposed to the mass blanketing of the countryside with the ecosystem poison.
Jeff Patchett, former farmer on Mt Patriarch station in Marlborough and outdoorsman, said he objected to the strident style and stereotyping of the anti-1080 public by the two on the “AM Show”
“I have always been a fan of The A.M. Show until Duncan Garner suggested Willie Apiata take some of the anti-1080 people into the bush and deal with them. I was absolutely appalled at these comments,” he said.
Jeff Patchett’s family has a proud history of World War service with lost five men in the First World War (1914 – 18)while his father and uncle both served in World War 2.
“Dad had an especially torrid time, as he fought at Monte Casino, one of the War’s most horrific battles. For Garner to say that he wished Willie would use some of his special skill set on fellow Kiwis makes a croc of dung out of the family fighting and dying for the Freedom of Speech. Is not the rant by Garner and Richardson hate speech?”
Jeff Patchett said he originally supported the use of 1080 in 1998 and when farming cattle that had TB reactors, he naively welcomed the use of the toxin.
“Like most people in 1998, we knew nothing of 1080 and if it got rid of TB we would welcome it. I even suggested they could land the choppers on our lawn if it helped. Well, they completed the drop and buggered off and left us to it.”
(Editor’s note:-In fact the TB at Mt Patriarch station in 1998 was not transmitted from wildlife such as possum but from infected cattle brought in by a nearby farmer.)
A few days later the family’s pet Wekas in the house water supply. He spent the next three weeks dragging dead pigs, deer and a large assortment of birds from the creek and its many tributaries.
That was the family’s drinking water and Jeff got a “guts ache” from the water.
About a month went by and the full impact of the drop was so obvious. The bush that normally teemed with birds was quiet. Even to this day, he has never seen a single Bush Robin, Tomtit or heard a Ruru (morepork).
The full impact of 1080 hit them on Christmas day. After Christmas dinner the family traditionally climbed to the top of “their mountain” (Mt.Patriarch) to visit the colony of kea. There were no kea. Only silence. Jeff and his son visited the mountain tops several more times and again here were no kea.
“They were gone. Generations of people had witnessed these cheeky birds and DoC had killed the lot – all 23 of them gone,” he said.
Jeff then followed up on other Kea colonies that he knew of. They all seemed to disappear after 1080 drops. – Nelson Lakes National park’s Mt Robert, the Rainbow area in the Wairau River headwaters and other Marlborough areas all had Kea until 1080 was used.
“I believe there are now no Kea in Marlborough – no thanks to 1080 by OSPRI and DoC,” he said.
“The Marlborough kea decline were reflected in DoC’s own census – sixty thousand in the 1970’s, to between one thousand and four thousand now. I personally believe the number to be less than a thousand perhaps 600?” Predators – a part of Nature’s food chains – rats, stoats, and possums were about in the 1970’s in as big a number as today he said. The kea’s habitat has not changed at all.
“Even redneck Mark Richardson and Duncan Garner would have to agree that DoC’s ‘lead head nail’ story (keas eating lead head nails on mountain hut roofs) is bullshit. DoC have, with the help of OSPRI, put our alpine clown bird on the endangered list. They will make them extinct in the wild the way they are going”.
Jeff rejected Mark Richardson’s comment that anti-1080 people were a fringe element.
“There are 300,000 people on ‘Ban 1080’ sites. We are bigger than “Forest and Bird”. We are made up of all sorts of folk. We have scientists (two in my family alone), builders, lawyers, doctors, teachers, anyone who can think for themselves and anyone who takes the time to look into the 1080 issue with an open mind. Also there are thousands who, like me, have witnessed the horror of 1080 for themselves.”
In 2018 a poll of newspaper readers in Marlborough was taken by the Marlborough Express on the banning of 1080. Almost four thousand people responded – 85% against 1080. On the West Coast of the South Island a survey found that figure to be a massive 93% against 1080. Even DoC’s own poll in 2016 had the anti-1080’s at over 60%.
Most anti-1080 people had more then one reason why 1080 should go. He detailed his.
1) It is extremely cruel. I have lost six dogs to it and have witnessed one dog die from it. Not very pleasant.
2) It has entered our food chain. Wild game and some fish with sub-lethal doses. Also what about the cattle and sheep that have eaten it and not died from it ?
3) Tourists are responding negatively to the signage. Trout fishermen are no longer coming.
4) The users of 1080 are not following the guidelines – i.e. keep out of water, bury dead animals, pick up unused bait.
5) It’s killing non-target animals. A survey of 10% of NZ vets in one year put the tally of 1080-poisoned dogs brought to them at 65. (Former PCE Jan Wright knew of only 7 poisoned dogs. There were 18 poisoned dogs in our 1080 drop alone.)
6) It is a teratogen – i.e.causes abnormalities to the unborn. DoC are finding this in baby Kea and other birds.
7) 1080 has ruined a very valuable export market. The wild game and fur industries were huge in the 1970’s – 80’s. Probably worth half a billion in today’s money.
8) Takes natural food away from people who can’t afford to pay for meat. This has a huge impact on families in the far north and on the West Coast.
9) Clean and Green NZ. Yeah right. “Forest and Bird’ and DoC always say “Look at the science”. Their own scientist a few decades ago told them it would be a disaster to use 1080 ( Dr. Mike Mead). His scientist peers agreed, but it still happened.
Most of DoC’s ‘science’ can be picked to bits with not much trouble. There are dozens of far cleverer people than the underpaid DoC scientists, and if TV3 gave them a chance to speak ,on nationwide TV, 1080 would be gone tomorrow.
Jeff Patchett received strong support from others. Marlborough author and conservationist Tony Orman with over 60 years of wilderness experience,
said influential people like Richardson and Garner on national television had a duty to be factual and research topics beforehand.
He said 1080 was first developed in 1920s as an insecticide which was soon found to have a by-kill of anything else that ingested it (e.g. birds, animals etc)
“So it was narrow mindlessly adopted as a pest poison. Remember insects are fundamental to pollination and also a food source for a number if birds, e.g. fantails, tomtits, bush robins,” he added.
1080 takes 24 hours or more, to kill, unlike cyanide which is instant. 1080 is inhumane and cruel.
Research (Ruscoe 2007) has shown trying to kill rats with it is short sighted and doomed to spectacularly fail as the 20% surviving rats within 4 years have ‘mushroomed’ to 3-4 times original levels.
Garner and Richardson quoted former Parliamentary Environment Commissioner Dr Jan Wright but Tony Orman said her qualifications – according o the internet – were not related to zoology or biology.
“Her degrees are in physics and public policy (check it on google). She is not a biologist, ecologist etc., I have a degree (not in biology or zoology) so am equally qualified as her to comment,” he said. “What I do have is 60 plus years in “the bush” and in wilderness areas, which I doubt Jan Wright has and probably nor Richardson and Garner.”
He objected to the “hate speech” of the TV 3 duo in “name-calling.”
“It shows weak argument to indulge in name calling,” said Tony Orman. “I do not regard myself as one of ‘loud, ignorant, uneducated group” of “extremists”. In fact I’m quiet, preferring to be up in the hills with my labrador, nor am I ignorant (I read a lot) (have had 25 books published) or uneducated (well educated with a land surveying degree), nor would I call myself “extreme”. Quite the opposite, I would be seen my many as a conservative, centrist,” he replied.
Facebook comments strongly supported Jeff Patchett’s letter to TV 3. Tony Orman has e mailed Duncan Garner but was not expecting a reply or apology.
Photo- Native birds like the bush robin are killed by 1080 as is their food source of insects.