Whose Land is it Anyway?

by Michelle Terry

We have fallen into a habit of calling our public land ‘DoC-Land’ thanks to the media and even our politicians who use this jargon. 

But the hard, indisputable fact is that land doesn’t belong to the Department of Conservation. It belongs to all of us, i.e. the people, the public, and we should be able to enjoy it free from poison and free of fees. 

Our fauna will never truly thrive in poisoned habitats and valuable wildlife is being wasted under the current management schemes which often deny access.

Secondary Poisoning

Secondary poisoning (where a poisoned animal or bird retains the toxin) means deaths from carcasses can occur up to a year or more after 1080 has been dropped in an area. We’re being held to ransom by the “new business of conservation”, selling us the pipe-dream of native purity in a country that has changed immeasurably since humans first arrived.

Every poisoned creature left is tantamount to laying another poison bait.

To avoid the “inaccessible bush”, DoC encourages us to stick to the paths and designated beauty spots. 

Skull and crossbones are the warning signs of a policy-based regime that is both inhumane and ignores the precautionary principle. 

Lost World

The push is on to recreate a Lost World imagined by European colonists; yet never actually witnessed by them. This land was once browsed and grazed by various species of moa. There were predators such as the giant Delcourt’s gecko, the Lion of the Skies known as Haast’s Eagle, and other major birds of prey. We cannot recreate an ecosystem without its constituents. All that is being created now is sterile, overgrown and toxic bush. We will soon be deafened by the sound of silence. Why should we put up with this?

It is incredible that the people of New Zealand are still putting up with deadly poison in their water supplies, on their walking tracks, during school holidays, and that this has happened repeatedly over the years close to communities. It directly impacts our safety and our ability to gather wild food from the land. 

Public Land

 Not DoC’s land or DoC-Land, but New Zealand; our public land. Our wild resources. We are too complacent as a Nation. We have become ashamed of speaking out and activism has become a dirty word when, in fact, history shows it is a vital part of democracy and human rights.

It’s easy to see that the department of ‘conservation’ is proud of its poisoning. It joins with other involved and newly formed agencies in the use of various publicity gimmicks, social media influencers and other public platforms to showcase ‘nativism’ and protect its right to use the best ‘tools’ (aka poisons) in the toolbox. Meanwhile, the rights of the public to protest and raise awareness of the impacts of the aerial poisoning are attacked and belittled in the media.  DoC seeks to play the victim here and intends to gain the moral high ground in its ongoing bid to win hearts, at least, if not minds. Certainly not the minds of critical thinkers. 

The devastation caused by aerial 1080 to all species in our ecosystems is a reality. The disappearing kea problem is easily pinpointed to poisoned food drops into their habitat, and the ongoing animal welfare issue is no joke. Even schools are desensitising kids to animal cruelty through a DoC- and Forest & Bird-influenced curriculum. DoC is playing the game of denial and it’s like chess with lives. Too many lives.

What are the policy makers telling the government this time? Was 24d and 245t just the trial run?

© Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes National Park – the bureaucrats or the people’s?

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