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EW Manager in Secret 080 Planning Group Meetings

EW Manager in Secret 080 Planning Group Meetings

A Coromandel conservation group is asking why a senior Environment Waikato (EW) manager was part of a behind-the-scenes group formed to promote the successful reassessment of 1080 poison by the Environment Risk Management Authority (ERMA).

Documents obtained by the Upper Coromandel Landcare Association (UCLA) under the Official Information Act reveal the involvement of EW Biosecurity Manager John Simmons in the private monthly meetings in Wellington of a small group from the Department of Conservation (DoC), the Animal Health Board and the 1080 importing business Animal Control Products(ACP) from 2002 until 2007.

“What comes as a shock to Waikato residents,” said UCLA spokesperson Reihana Robinson, “is to discover that one of the few members of this small and secret applicant group was none other than one of our own EW pest managers.”

“Waikato residents know that council employees favour increased use of 1080” she said. “The problem is that, unbeknownst to the public, Simmons and EW were actively working on ratepayer time and at ratepayer expense to promote a toxin whose effect on our entire ecosystem is hotly debated. Research has demonstrated devastating effects of 1080 on a wide range of native and non-native species.”

“What is completely incredible is that Simmons, an EW employee whose salary is paid by residents actually participated in an active advocacy role designing and strategizing the application and all the while acted as if EW were independent of the ERMA process and were simply awaiting a decision.”

“At a bare minimum this explains why EW pest staff and Councillors have been so intransigent and fixated on continuing and expanding the use of 1080 poison and making sure the new pest strategy (now on hold) was designed to give EW maximum flexibility in using the toxin.

UCLA has lodged a formal request with EW for all information about Simmons’ activities and expenses on behalf of the 1080 applicants group and is seeking facts on who authorized his involvement and who at Council was aware of it.


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