Friday, February 11, 2011

1080 poison Investigation - Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

Yesterday Steve and I flew to Wellington, at the request of the PCE (which was gratefully accepted). 

Apart from Steve and I, there were 4 people present - Dr. Jan Wright PCE - Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment - and associates...Sky Davies - Researcher, Karl Beckert - Corporate Affairs Adviser, and Rob Egan - Communications Adviser.

Dr. Wright indicated at the start that she would need to attend another meeting after about an hour, which she did. 

The PCE is an independent adviser, disconnected from DoC, AHB, and other government departments. She has more independence because the commissioner is not affiliated with any office, or any MP's.

The PCE has the authority to pick and choose which issues are investigated. In this case, the use of 1080 in New Zealand was chosen.

I asked the advisers why. (Dr Wright had left at this stage)

We were told - because of Poisoning Paradise - it's causing a stir, so the PCE was interested in investigating the issue.

Poisoning Paradise is a comprehensive accumulation of facts, evidence and experts. However, since it's release, scientists, doctors and concerned individuals have continued to assemble data and investigate research, demonstrating that the use of aerial 1080 in New Zealand continues to provide no benefit - but rather, is destroying biodiversity.  

I requested that the PCE team look through the new, comprehensive report (supplied) by Dr. Jo Pollard (BSc (Hons), PhD (Zoology), and the work (supplied) by Dr. Pat (PhD) & Dr. Quinn Whiting (MD, Ma) Okeefe's, and talk to scientists in opposition to the use of 1080. 
I suggested that an investigation like this should concentrate on why there is opposition to 1080, and listen to the experts who oppose its use - after all, this isn't about whether we should be using 1080 - we are - it's about whether we shouldn't be using it.

The team were interested in alternatives to the use of 1080. We stated that the new doco will be exploring these, and that we don't have all the answers at this time, but they will be addressed in the new documentary.

Overall, the meeting went well. 
The team were receptive, responsive, and seemed genuinely interested in the alternatives to the use of 1080. They gave us 2 hours and 15 minutes, considered by us as a generous contribution, before our taxi arrived to return us to the airport. 

The PCE investigation is due to be released around April.

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