Thursday, August 12, 2010


The following post, about to appear in the Hauraki Herald, is from battlers based in the Coromandel, and in response to DoC's poisoning campaign at Kennedy Bay...


We are a group of local residents who passionately believe in controlling pests without poisoning the entire wildlife system at the same time.
On August 6 2010 a full-page advertorial appeared in this paper written by the new DOC manager for our area, Melissa King-Howell, "to inform the general public about the possum control planned for Kennedy Bay."
By August 6 this operation had only a week left to run and this is the first thing most people had heard of it.

Some trees in the bush block are "suffering from excessive possum browse" says M King-Howell. And yet the possum count is only 5.8%. Thus the excessive browse must be either an invention or caused by some other creature. Too many kaka perhaps. Either way, reducing that figure of 5.8% to 3.8 or 2.1 is not likely to make much difference. Fact is, that figure was already reduced as most of the possums had moved to an untreated neighbouring block of pines which was in flower at the time of poisoning.
Why choose bait-stations which carve tracks through the bush at 200m grids creating more damage than an army of possums in a life-time?
M King-Howell adds that the by-kill of rats with 1080 has produced increases of tui and bellbird after one breeding season in other Peninsula pest control operations.
This too turns out to be untrue as Iris Jacobs' peninsula research reveals.
Iris' report is a little shaky on the facts but two unquestionable points emerge:
1. Tui, and pigeon did not increase their numbers during the first breeding season after rat-poisoning and
2. Before the second breeding season the rat population was larger than it had been before the poisoning began.
This increase of rats after poisoning is reckoned to be between 2.5 and 6 times the original population according to all the research that has been carried out on rat abundance. (See Sweetapple, P., et al 2006)
M King-Howell has used only four sentences of anecdotal whimsy to sell the need for this Kennedy Bay project. The rest of her page is devoted to "selling" the poison 1080.

"Without protection, predators will kill nine out of ten kiwi chicks" says M King-Howell. The only known predator to kill 9 out of 10 kiwi is dogs. Does this mean that the Kennedy Bay 1080 is aimed directly at dogs?

M King-Howell quotes Suren 2006 as an authority on 1080 breakdown in water. Had she read his actual report she would have found that Suren 2006 had done no research whatsoever into the breakdown of 1080 poison. All the "independent water tests" she talks about were taken by the Health Board. The Health Board is part of every aerial 1080 team and in no sense can be labeled "Independent".
"Water testing done after 1080 operation is carried out to confirm that toxin is no longer present. This is to ensure that intakes of water used for drinking are not reopened during the short time when 1080 will be present after an operation. Testing is thus for clearance, rather than to detect the presence of 1080." (Hood 2007)
Mr Suren 2006, on the other hand, went looking for poison and every water sample he took within a four hours of a 1080 drop was found to contain 1080. Where it goes to no one knows.
M King-Howell has taken one line from Suren's executive summary, but she has ignored the damning evidence contained in the heart of his report.
"As all spin doctors know it is a standard trick to write an Executive Summary to emphasise the points you want journalists to pick up, and leave the detail buried in the report itself where hopefully it will remain undiscovered." (Wishart 2008)

"1080 is not carcinogenic" says M King-Howell, as if this is an advantage. How do we know if 1080 is carcinogentic or not? If you get 1080 poisoning cancer has no time to develop; you are dead in a few days.

1080 LIKE DDT:
The sales propaganda for 1080 has been identical to NZ's other toxins such as DDT, dioxins and Brodifacoum. All these toxins have enjoyed continued use in NZ long after their use in the wild has been banned elsewhere.

Even though research published in DOC's submission to ERMA revealed that 25% of all 1080 workers were carrying 1080 in their systems, M King-Howell states that "Their health is monitored and no issues with 1080 have been found". No worries for Melissa perhaps but if 25% of my workers were carrying detectable traces of 1080 it would be an issue for me.

$4-5 million per annum is spent on scientific research into 1080 and other toxins. Traps, encapsulated cyanide and the bio-dynamic methods of pest control have all been developed with private money. They are cheap, totally species-specific, do not cause secondary poisoning, do not get in the waterways, and leave no hidden residues.
Why have the government research teams for so long had nothing to do with the development of these very genuine alternatives?
The only "alternative" toxin to emerge from decades of research and tens of millions of dollars, is called PAPP, which Mr Eason tells us is perfect in every way. Only thing is PAPP is harmless to possums!

An army of DOC staff arrived in Kennedy Bay in the early hours of the morning to fill 1200 bait-stations with 1080 and get the job done in 24 hours. They were accompanied by another army of police dressed in anti-terrorist gear and carrying guns and expecting to fill their paddy wagons. They closed off the poison area with numerous road blocks. They stopped the few locals going to work and interrogated them as if they were terrorists. 32 policeman-days lost that the police were not chasing real crime.

There has been much unnecessary spending on this operation which has left the community seething and divided.
Kennedy Bay is the first example of how DOC's poisoning regime will be carried out under Melissa King-Howell: No consultation or any information prior to poisoning. Secret poisoning if possible. If word leaks out beforehand, as it did in Kennedy Bay, and there follows the slightest murmur of disapproval, Melissa will wheel in the SWAT squad and quiet that disapproval with anti-terrorist measures.

There are several websites available that contain balanced information about the use of 1080 in New Zealand.

The Stop 1080 facebook page

The Graf Boys

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