Waikato Regional Council Pest Grants Spark Community Opposition

A Coromandel conservation group says Waikato Regional Council is fueling community discord by major funding of controversial pest control plans of private groups and introducing a new council policy of secrecy regarding increased poison operations on the peninsula.
The Upper Coromandel Landcare Association (UCLA), which represents farmers and other landowners who kaitiaki thousands of hectares from Colville to Moehau, has stated its firm opposition to a cross-peninsula pest fence proposal, planning for which was included in a four-year grant of $390,038 to Te Ara Hou Kennedy Bay Ltd, managed by former DOC employee Nicholas Hamon. The proposed barrier would span Kennedy Bay to Koputauaki, potentially reigniting bitter community-wide conflict that raged over a similar failed proposal further north.
UCLA also expressed alarm at WRC-funded plans for recurring cross-peninsula aerial 1080 toxin operations run by the new company across a swath from Kennedy Bay to Papa Aroha in what would be a major shift to privatisation of poison drops.
The Te Ara Hou grant was approved in a community-excluded WRC session on July 22.  Companies Office records reveal the company, with no track record, was actually incorporated only two months before the cash handout.  
Nil consultation
According to UCLA spokesperson Reihana Robinson, “There has been no public consultation, no transparency, and no accountability. There is, however, widespread and vocal community opposition to the aerial 1080 plan already.”
“As for the pest-proof fence proposal, the idea that a massively expensive, ineffective, and socially divisive hard barrier is even being considered, let alone funded by targeted Coromandel regional rates, is outrageous,” Robinson said. “WRC and Te Ara Hou have not done their homework and are out of touch.  This is not about Kennedy Bay or Ngati Porou – it’s about all the rest of us who would be fenced in.”
The last attempt, by the Moehau Environment Group (MEG) in 2006 from Waikawau to Colville, was overwhelmingly opposed by the people who were to be fenced in, Robinson said.  “No successful fenced area anywhere in New Zealand includes farms, homes, businesses, holiday parks, and campgrounds like we have on the northern Coromandel.”
Residents who stopped the MEG fence warned of increased 1080 drops, loss of income, health risks, costs to ratepayers, extermination of traditional kai, bans on pets and working dogs, and adverse effects on native species.
UCLA has also noted a new WRC gag-order policy of withholding information regarding poisons being laid by council-funded private groups. A copy of MEG’s most recent successful $400,000 grant application, requested from WRC by UCLA under the Official Information Act, was released after several delays heavily redacted – all requested mapping and toxin information was blacked out. 
“MEG and Te Ara Hou, with WRC’s blessing, are thumbing their noses at local residents and the Coromandel-Colville Community Board, which three times in the last decade passed resolutions against use of 1080 and other residual toxins,” Robinson said. “And Waikato Regional Council, including our local representative Denis Tegg, are seemingly unaware or completely dismissive of on-the-ground community sentiment.”
“These publicly funded poison jobs affect neighbours. Toxic hopper dust and poisoned animal carcasses cross property lines and know no boundaries.  Mokopuna, the food chain, our drinking water, pets, and livestock are all at risk. People have the right to know. People are not happy.”

Reihana Robinson/ reihana@reihanarobinson.co.nz  (027) 694-0000

© 1080 poison use in New Zealand is publicly funded

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7 Responses to Waikato Regional Council Pest Grants Spark Community Opposition

  1. Tony Orman says:

    Democracy seems to be dying. National and local governments don’t believe in being accountable. But they are public servants getting paid out of the public purse to serve the public interest. Well that’s how the theory goes.
    As for 1080 it has to be the biggest rip-off ever on the taxpayer and the environment. It represents parisitic corruption, lies and vested interests.

  2. Lewis Hore says:

    60 years of 1080 and endangered species are getting less and less. As Gareth Morgan said ” predator proof sanctuaries are very expensive cat food factories” they don’t work you only need to look at the number of incursions into predator proof sanctuaries. Rate payers have enough to pay for without councils wasting money on some tossers dream.

  3. Dave Richardson says:

    I was involved in some of the first 1080 drops where we used carrots in 1963 on the West Coast and on assessments we found more birds than what we were targeting. Being some thing new at the time I thought naively that it was just an experiment but now 57 years later it is still being used. Any bushman worth his salt will tell it does not do any good what so ever but on the contrary does a lot of harm and many cases unknown harm. Because we have areas that have been left alone for hundreds of years we still have or did have many of our birds. To think that this situation has just come about shows the ignorance of those now in charge. Just leave the bush alone and use some boot leather.

  4. Robbie says:

    An ex-DOC manager at WRC steers $400,000 of ratepayer money to another ex-DOC manager of a start-up pest poisoning company. The regional council privatises its 1080 programme with the added benefit of no transparency and an exemption from OIA requests by the public. In most jurisdictions this would be recognised as legalised corruption. Other big-business “eco entrepreneurs” on the Coromandel also getting similar funding to lay toxins with all operational information withheld from the public. As public opposition to 1080 drops has increased, Waikato Regional Council has doubled down on secrecy, obstruction, and big-money insider dealing.

  5. john veysey says:

    WRC has granted $390,000 over four years to the Kennedy Bay pair of Nic Hamon and Quentin Potae. In the grant it states that the money is primarily to pay for wages to Nic and Quentin. $390,000 over four years means less than $100,000 per year and, in the knowledge that the country’s “average wage” is now over $50,000 we cannot expect these two men to achieve anything more than staying alive.
    All the “jobs” they have promised they will do in their proposal will be paid for by extra money eg the four-yearly 1080 drops and the imaginary fence.
    WRC’s present system of allotting rates monies to individuals such as Nic and Quentin means that the great majority of environment funding is now swallowed up by “administrators”. Very little of the vast sums of environment funding given out now actually gets spent in our forests. Control over the work relies solely on the administrators. WRC staff no longer oversee any of this work and they rely totally on what they are told by the receivers of the funding which explains why they and our representative, Dennis Tegg, have no idea what is actually going on on the ground or the feeling of the local communities.

  6. Brave Dave says:

    Like the USA , it looks like the Marxists have infiltrated ALL areas of
    public management!!! First Universities & some schools, then the labour party & the “greens” ( really the Socialist Unity Party in disguise) & now local & regional Govt.

    Hopefully Oct 18th will see transparency return to NZ’s public servant’s activities & upheld by our courts using the Official Information Act as it was intended, NOT a system for arse covering!!!!! & info hiding.

  7. Charles Henry says:

    I think it was Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace (now resigned) who became severely critical of the modern green movement as being “anti-human”
    Like my own lifetime experiences, Moore believes the post-war idealistic groups such as “Ban the Bomb” or “Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament” slowly dissolved and the extremists among those groups found a natural home inside the Green Movement.
    The migration from the extreme left-wing Ban the Bomb to the Greens, saw the policies of the Greens shift markedly away from ecological issues such as Save the Whale, Save the Planet, Save the Rainforest, Protect the Ozone Hole towards more pointed Climate Change, anti-Civilisation, anti-Industry – As Moore suggests “Anti-Human”.
    Tie that up with Labour’s policies and need for support in a minority Government and it’s hard not to see how things are as bad as they are today. Extreme left-wing ideology now permeates both Labour and Greens, with extreme pro-UN policies adopted such as Agenda 21 and Agenda 30.
    Peters signing of the UN Pact on Immigration without reference to the Public was indicative of how far this Country has been removed from Democracy,
    The previous Labour Government under Clark was no better, showing complete disdain for the New Zealand electorate by unilaterally creating the biggest Constitutional change since 1840 by removing GodZone from the auspices of the Privy Council. We were never asked – doesn’t matter what you think – just ask any constitutional lawyer.

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