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Those Who Don’t Agree To Aerial 1080 To Be Charged

Council Plans To Charge Those Who Don’t Agree To Aerial 1080

In a bold policy shift, Environment Waikato Regional Council (EW) staff are proposing to systematically charge communities and landowners that choose pest control methods other than that which council says is the cheapest -- blanket aerial applications of 1080.

In response, the Upper Coromandel Landcare Association (UCLA) has lodged a strong objection with EW’s finance committee, which received a staff recommendation in favour of the new levies at a meeting last Friday in Hamilton.

According to the proposed plan, if residents and landowners choose control methods such as hunting and trapping, which EW maintains are more costly than aerial 1080 but which others maintain are safer, more humane and just as effective, those communities would be assessed for any additional costs. In the examples cited by EW staff, penalties for those who to refuse to allow aerial 1080 drops could amount to many hundreds and even thousands of dollars per rating unit, depending on the area and number of landowners affected.

UCLA, however, says the new plan is a coercive and intimidating tactic to force aerial 1080 drops on unwilling communities and stop in its tracks the mounting opposition to council’s expanded toxin use. The Coromandel-based conservation group says the charges are heavy financial penalties for those who exercise their human rights to enjoy clean water, clean food supplies and a clean environment and will fall on those who can least afford it. .

“If communities say ‘No thanks’ to supertoxins in their water catchments, to poisonings of stock and pets, and to the potential disease and health effects of low level and chronic toxin exposure, EW wants to make them pay,” says UCLA spokesperson Reihana Robinson. “In Coromandel Town, for example, EW sees the potential for new targeted assessments of around $100,000 per control cycle. That’s a giant financial penalty when spread around a small community. It’s aggressive and it’s heavy handed.”

“EW staff say that choosing pure drinking water and a toxin-free food supply is like sending the kids to private school. They say it’s a privilege for which they should collect what amounts to user-pays. We say pure food and water are basic human rights that EW has no business whatsoever charging for.”

“EW staff were attempting to fly in their big “No-1080 Targeted Rate” below the radar without any public consultation and outside the normal planning process,” Robinson said. “A lot of Waikato residents will be a lot poorer if EW staff get their way with this scheme. Either poorer or poisoned. Affected communities need to be heard and respected.”

ENDS

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