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!