Resistance to using 1080 grows in Far North

There is a growing protest in the Far North regarding use of 1080 poison. Photo / File
There is a growing protest in the Far North regarding use of 1080 poison. Photo / File

The Department of Conservation's plan for a 1080 aerial drop in public and private forests in the Far North later this year is meeting growing resistance.

Critics say use of the poison over more than 60 years has had devastating effects on wildlife, killing indiscriminately, inflicting an "extremely cruel and inhumane death" that often takes days. Locals for Responsible Conservation also argue that it poisons water, including sources used by people.

"Poisoned animals are left to rot in the forest and waterways, and remain toxic for many, many months," a spokesman said.

"Dropping deadly poison over our environment is not an acceptable practice, and it is not sustainable.

"There are many alternatives that contribute positively to our communities and our employment opportunities that do not risk our health and our environment.

"We support sustainable, responsible conservation that benefits local communities and respects our environment, including all creatures great and small."

Meanwhile a reply to an Official Information Act request from Locals for Responsible Conservation, received in March, raised more questions, glossed over the risks and showed that DOC had misled the public about the cost of the operations and local support for the drop, the group said.

A number of the groups listed as having been consulted said they had not been, while others had wrongly been cited as supportive.

Tai Tokerau District Maori Council chairman Rihari Dargaville said the planned drop was a "travesty of ignorance" and a breach of Treaty protocols in that hapu had not been consulted over the intention to use 1080 in Russell State Forest, at Totara North, Whangaroa and Puketi.

DOC may have consulted some Maori groups or individuals, but they do not hold authority over these areas — hapu do," Mr Dargaville said.

"Hapu vehemently oppose DOC's intention to drop 1080 in these areas, or on any area that hapu have rangatira rights over. They have gone as far as to say they want 1080 banned."

Di Maxwell, who chairs the Far North Resilient Communities Charitable Trust, said her organisation was working on a business plan showing that there was an alternative to 1080. By focusing on sustainable pest control, social enterprises could be developed that would provide employment opportunities, she said.

- Northland Age

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