Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Mad Hatter's Ten-Eighty-Tea Party?

The following story appeared on the front page of this week's

The Informer...

               The Mad Hatter's Ten-Eighty-Tea Party?

Government 1080 importer threatens to sue government for compensation if 1080 stocks are made worthless.

Is this another twist to the Mad Hatters Ten-Eight-Tea Party?
More and more it appears that it is not conservation science, but rather it is an economic engine that is  driving the continued use of 1080 as the “most effective tool we have” to reduce possum numbers.

Methinks I smell a rat,or should I say a possum, and it's not in the forest dying an agonising 1080 death -  no, it appears to be a large corporate creature nestled into a cosy cranny at the highest level of government.

Animal Control Products Ltd (ACP) is a state-owned enterprise whose two shareholders are the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Agriculture. It is a business that, like a drug addict, is hooked into the  importation, manufacturing and distribution of 1080 products and the profits that are generated. In its Statement of Corporate Intent ( 2010- 2012) there are a few eye-brow raising statements, no matter whether your eyebrows are the bushy farmer's type, or shaped urban. 

Here are three surprising facts for your consideration:

1.      APC Ltd sees any developments of alternatives to 1080 ( that ERMA recommended) as a “risk” to its core business.(Importing and manufacturing products from 1080 accounts for 65% of its profits. )

2.      It has stockpiled 4 years worth of 1080 “beyond commercial requirements”. (This has been  estimated to amount to more than 10,000kg of pure 1080.)

3.      It has stated that  should the government take any action to restrict 1080 use, thereby making these stocks “valueless”, it will assert its right to seek compensation “..sufficient to allow the Company's position to be restored. ( Source:  )

Here are some questions to ponder.

How bizarre is this, where an SOE company whose two shareholders are the Ministers of Finance and Agriculture, will threaten to sue themselves, the government?

How can it be in the “national interest” and for the “public good”, to stockpile 4 years worth of the  supertoxin 1080 “beyond commercial requirements” as stated by ACP?

Is ACP an unaccountable corporate entity? The answer to this must be 'yes' as it states that its Business and Strategic Plan is confidential and not available to the public.

ACP Ltd also states that to deal with the perceived “risk” of 1080 use being restricted, it will need to develop new poisons as well as expand exports. Currently, ACP through Pestoff Products based in Wanganui, exports container loads of poisons to many overseas nations including Iran, Pakistan, Turkey and Russian states like unstable Kyrgyzstan.( Source:  under products).

Have we “gone down the rabbit hole” like Alice in Wonderland where things appear curiouser and curiouser? For example, in the 2007 “anti-terrorist” police raids, the organisers of an environmentally constructive Ecoshow in Taupo had their homes searched and computers removed. Compare this to the fact that a state-owned enterprise can import  huge amounts of a deadly Class 1A supertoxin which could threaten national security if ever it got into the wrong hands.

In its booklet on “Possum Control and the Use of 1080 in New Zealand”, the Department of Conservation stated that 1080 for possum control was the best available poison “ in the short to medium term”. They stated that within 10  to 15 years there would be more “integrated” approaches or biological control. But this was written sixteen years ago. Over this time, 1080 use has become entrenched in the economy, driven more by money than ecology.

It would be funny, if it wasn't so concerning that many well-intentioned and hard-working people of the conservation sector have swallowed the green-tinged bait of this profit-driven poison-industrial complex. In time, 1080 will join a long list of banned chemicals that were once promoted as “safe and cost-effective”.

To see story - click here - The Informer

Stephanie McKee
Waikawau Bay.
October 2010

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