Monday, May 31, 2010

Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival

Poisoning Paradise is playing at the Reel Earth Environmental Film Festival tomorrow night, Palmerston North - Tuesday the 1st of June, 8.oopm, Downtown Cinemas, cinema 3 - please let contacts know, and come along and support the film. Over 220 films were entered, from around the world, and Poisoning Paradise was in one of the 30 odd, features chosen. Steve and I will be there to conduct Q & A after screening. Thanks to all those battlers fighting the 1080 poisoning industry in New Zealand.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Historic views still valid

Pre DoC's 1995 1080 poison push, it was more common to get un-biased information, and honest opinion based on fact and careful observation.
However, after many years of heavily funded fear campaigns - bearing close resemblance to methods used by Hitler's regime - not only have a large majority of the New Zealand public been duped, but so have many authority heads, industry sectors and other government departments.

It goes as far as having these same authorities, on practically a weekly basis, quoting 'Chinese whispers' in news releases... as fact! They are, to put it simply, demonstrating their ignorance - or involvement in the poison industry by doing so - you pick, which.

The following excerpt by Ross Annabell appeared in the Rural News on 28th June, 1993...

Kevin Smith, conservation director, Forest and Bird...
"In view of the Kapiti trial, they had a further look at the results of a 1978 Whirinaki forest trial, in which kaka were counted before and after the drop, and showed a 50% decline after the drop. At the time the decline had been dismissed as an inaccurate count, but could be viewed as a possible 50% kaka kill...

Forest and Bird now believes no air drops of either pollard or carrot baits should go ahead in kaka areas and there should be a ban of 1080 in national parks.
Ground control operations, which are much safer for bird life, cost about the same as air drops, he said." Ends.

That was Forest and Bird's stance in 1993!

My, how things have changed!
The large bureaucracies joining hands to sing the pro1080 anthem in this country just indicate how deep the ignorance runs.
Ground control methods are still the best, and most responsible option of controlling feral animals.
The best way to cling to mass poisoning campaigns is to instantly dismiss and discredit the viable alternatives - which is exactly what happens today. Ground control is too expensive, a bounty won't work - they cry!

Of course a bounty would work! Put $100 (the probable cost of aerially poisoning possums at the moment) on a possum's head, and you would have the animal listed as an endangered species within a year. So the question is - if there was a bounty - at what value?
Other ways to encourage ground control management would be to subsidise field workers. Rugged terrain does not even need doing, unless identified as of key importance. But to simply dismiss responsible methods as impossible because it interferes with an established poison industry, owned by our government, is...predictable.

Another example I found on the weekend, of historic concern was...

The following excerpt is from the chapter called Rare Birds and Conservation by Sir Robert Falla, in the book Birds in New Zealand, edited by CJR Robertson, published by Reed in Wellington, 1974. The quote is from page 134.

"It is extremely difficult to get any reliable evidence of the main causes of decline. Disease or a failure of some vital food source have been suggested only, but not demonstrated. It is easier to get circumstantial evidence of predation or competition, and understandably there is a tendency to take action on this aspect in management policy. Unfortunately, for large areas, the recommended weapons for control usually include both toxic substances and viral agents. An effort is made to direct the effects of these specifically, but doubts about the wisdom of virtually poisoning the whole environment are not easily dispelled.

It is a problem calling for much more research because technical efficiency in the wide dispersal of pesticides for many purposes is such that very few parts of the country are untouched by it. If this is the serious threat to wildlife that a few people believe it to be, the effects must become apparent even on the numbers of bird species still listed as common. It is not inconceivable that Pipits or Keas, for example, could be the rare birds of tomorrow, and any such trends must be watched."

Common sense in DoC wildlife management is like the Kea - becoming more and more rare!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Protestors get the OK from Westcoast Council for 1080 ban

To view TV3 News video click here

The Christchurch Press - online today...

Furious protesters chanting "stop the drop" filled the streets of the usually peaceful
West Coast town of Hokitika today.

An estimated 300 anti-1080 protesters marched through the main street, demanding aerial dropping of 1080 in the region be stopped.

Some protesters carried a coffin while another, perched upon a trailer, spun a wheel suggesting the terrible outcomes of the poison.

The protesters gathered outside the Westland District Council to present council members with a petition stating that 92 per cent of people in the area opposed 1080.

Mayor Maureen Pugh told the crowd she found the numbers "mind-boggling" and said the council would fulfil its "obligation" to the community as government representatives.

The use of 1080 poison has been a long running issue on the West Coast, however authorities claim to have no other options in their fight against pests.


And in response, and just in from the Westland District Council.....

5.6 Operation Swoop Petition and Farmers Against Ten Eighty – 1080 Petition

It was noted that Councillor Allen Hurley had signed the 1080 petition.

Moved Her Worship the Mayor, seconded Councillor Eggeling and Resolved that Council receive the petition and agrees to forward it to MP Chris Auchinvole as Chair of the Local Government and Environment Select Committee for action.

Moved Councillor Hustwick, seconded Councillor Birchfield and Resolved that:

1. Westland District Council, while recognising that they currently have no legal authority to enforce this action, have a strong desire to have Westland District 1080 free, and will advocate with interest groups for that to occur; and

2. Council will commence proceedings to make the use of 1080 a prohibited activity in the Westland District Plan; and

3. Recognising the threat that TB has on the Westland economy, Council will work with Department of Conservation and the Animal Health Board in applying to Development West Coast for funding to implement an alternative method of possum control, including trapping or other ground control methods.

The results of the petitions...

Kumara 216 polled 212 signatures 98%

Hokitika 1156 polled 1035 signatures 89.5%

Ross 186 polled 177 signatures 95%

Ruatapu 51 polled 44 signatures 86%

Harihari 215 polled 201 signatures 93.5%


Monday, May 17, 2010

Poisoning Paradise misses boat at Swansea Bay Film Festival

Poisoning Paradise has missed out on the Environment & Ecology award at the Swansea Bay Film Festival, held in the UK last night.
PP was on a short list of 5 films from around the world contending for the award.
There are several other film festivals that Poisoning Paradise has been entered into, to help raise awareness about the destructive practice of aerially dropping poisons into New Zealand's ecosystems.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Taupo gets WHO accreditation - and another aerial 1080 drop!

Taupo District Council Press Release - 29 April 2010

Taupo gains ‘International Safe District’ accreditation with flying colours – WHO (World Health Organisation).

Six accredited examiners from the World Health Organisation (WHO) visited Taupo last Wednesday (21 April) to judge the district’s application to become an ‘International Safe District’, saying that the districts application was one of the best they had seen.
Just as Taupo gets WHO accreditation for being a safe district, it's due to get another large scale 1080 drop directly into its water catchment, on its eastern side. This is due to begin anytime after the 21st MAY 2010, as was just printed in the Taupo Times. The extraordinary thing about this drop, like most aerial drops, is that it is to take place across an extensive area of pine forest. I was in one of the forests only a week ago, and there was no sign of possums in the part we were in. These forests have roads and tracks all through them, and are easy terrain to navigate on foot. So why aerial 1080???....because it's big money, and it's easy!
The last drop, on the southern side of the lake, was less than 12 months ago!!!

It's extraordinary that the World Health Organisation can award Taupo with such a "safe" status, while being oblivious to the environmental, civil, and WHO warning breaches that take place on a regular basis in the Taupo district, with regard to 1080 poison.

The same World Health Organisation that gave Taupo its big tick, includes the following about 1080 - (Mono Fluoroacetate) in its extensive warning page....

WHO (World Health Organisation) warnings for the use of compound 1080...

4.1.3 Sodium fluoroacetate should not be used in dwelling houses.
Baits should not be used where there is a risk of contaminating food,
animal feeding stuffs or drinking or washing water. Exposed baits
should be laid in containers clearly marked "Poison". Baits should not
be laid unless all access by children and animals other than rats and
mice can be prevented. Except in locked unoccupied premises baits
should not remain down for more than 24 hours. All exposed baits and
their containers should be removed after treatment and burned. Rodent
bodies should be searched for and destroyed by burning.

Note - In New Zealand, baits are dropped directly into waterways 3 metres, and less in diameter; at the same rate that's applied to land. (These small streams make up the bigger rivers) All baits are left to decompose where they fall - be that in the forest canopy, on the forest floor, or in the streams. All animals killed by 1080 are left to decompose where they die - be that on land, or in water.

The general public should be excluded from all access to premises
while baits are exposed.

Note - In New Zealand, all aerial drop zones remain open to the public while the aerial poison operations are conducted. There are NO warnings NOT to drink the water from the streams in these drop zones! In some smaller streams, that often have walking tracks cris-crossing them, contain high numbers of baits in the water.

5.1.2 Symptoms and signs: there is a variable latent period ranging
from 30 minutes to two hours between ingestion and appearance of
symptoms. The first indication of poisoning is nausea and mental
apprehension with facial twitching and numbness, generally followed by
epileptiform convulsions. After a period of several hours pulsus
alternans may exist followed by ventricular fibrillation and death.
Children appear to be more subject to cardiac arrest than to
ventricular fibrillation

Note - In New Zealand, 100's of thousands of animals and birds (and insects) are lethally, and sub-lethally poisoned every year - ranging from possums to dogs to deer to sheep to cattle, from robins to Kiwi to owls to parrots to hawks.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

DR. Meriel Watts - PHD responds to 20 year resource consent application

The application by aerial poison applicators, EPRO and ECOfx, to Environment Waikato for 10 and 20 year resource consents, to drop 1080 from aircraft, onto land and into water, is concerning.
Dr. Meriel Watts PHD, author of 2 well known books in New Zealand - The Poisoning of New Zealand, 1994 - and - Pesticides and Breast Cancer, 2007 - writes to Enviroment Waikato...

30 April 2010

Bob Laing, Chief Executive

Environment Waikato

Box 4010

Hamilton East 3247

Re: EPRO and EcoFX Resource Consent Applications

Dear Mr Laing,

I am writing to you on behalf of Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa New Zealand to express our profound opposition to Environment Waikato’s anachronistic proposal to allow 10- or 20-year resource consents to EPRO and EcoFX to aerially disperse 1080 in the region.

As you are no doubt aware, 1080 is classed by the World Health Organisation as an Extremely Hazardous pesticide (Class 1a WHO). You may not be aware that as such it falls within the category of Highly Hazardous Pesticides for which the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) is seeking a global phase out.

That Environment Waikato is contemplating 10 or 20 year consents to use, let alone aerially disperse, 1080, when a UN agency is promoting a global phase out of all such pesticides is extraordinary. I can only assume that you officers are not aware of the situation.

To issue consents of 10 or more years duration also flies in the face of ERMA’s concern about such on-going widespread dispersal of 1080 in the environment, and their support for more research into alternatives. There will be no room for introduction of alternatives in the EW region if these consents are granted.

1080 is a broad-spectrum poison: it kills all oxygen-breathing animals and organisms. This alone is reason enough to cease dispersing it into the environment. It indiscriminately kills and contaminates everything from the insects that underpin the native fauna food chain to precious native birds, dogs and farm animals. There are so many recorded instances that there is no need to elaborate on them here. Nor the fact that the suffering of these animals on the way to death is extremely inhumane.

That New Zealand has such a history of poisoning its indigenous species, livestock and companion animals is a shame we have to live with. But we do not need to perpetuate it. Thankfully the era of poisoning everything we don’t like is passing, and intelligent new, targeted approaches to pest management are taking its place.

It is time now for Environment Waikato to move forward with the rest of the world, and introduce alternatives. Trapping has been shown to be an effective method of controlling possums, at the same time utilising a valuable resource for the benefit of the national economy, and trapping technology is continually improving. On the other hand, years of experience of 1080 dispersal has shown that this approach is not sustainable, it has to be repeated at regular intervals, each time with its negative consequences for the environment.

Pesticide Action Network therefore urges you to reject the idea of extended resource consents for aerial dispersal of 1080, and to instead focus your resources on rapid introduction of sustainable, environmentally friendly, and socially supportive alternatives such as trapping.

Yours sincerely,

Meriel Watts, PhD,

Pesticide Action Network

Aotearoa New Zealand
Co-ordinator: Dr Meriel Watts
Ostend, Waiheke Island