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Public Deserves a Say in Unprecedented 1080 Drop

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Public Deserves a Say in Unprecedented 1080 Drop
By Beyond 1080 Golden Bay

This spring, the Department of Conservation (DOC) intends to conduct the largest aerial 1080 poison drop ever undertaken in New Zealand.

Local residents bordering Kahurangi National Park are up in arms at the revelation that the Department is trying to keep the public from having any say in the matter, while operations are being planned on the basis of incomplete science.

DOC have applied for consent to aerially poison over 202,000 ha of Kahurangi National Park and adjoining areas with sodium fluoroacetate (1080).

The Department have applied to Tasman District Council for a non-notified resource consent for over 145,000 hectares, meaning they are asking the Council not to consider any public comments.

The rest of the area slated for poisoning lies in the Buller District.

Under the Resource Management Act, a resource consent must be open to public consultation if the proposed activity is likely to have adverse environmental effects that are ‘more than minor.’ Accordingly, the Golden Bay Community Board has requested Tasman District Council to require public notification of the proposed large scale Kahurangi aerial 1080 operation, which includes 80,000 ha of land never poisoned in the past, rich in wildlife.

The area includes species (such as weka and kea) which are especially vulnerable to 1080 poisoning. Of particular concern is the rock wren, an endangered bird which DOC scientists last year indicated should not be exposed to aerial 1080 until further research had been done.

The Department of Conservation, in their application for council consent, acknowledge that they have no comprehensive survey data showing the abundance and distribution of animal and bird species across most of the zone proposed for poisoning.

A perception of lack of accountability and inadequate independent monitoring have given rise to alarm in the local community. “Without baseline data, how is it possible to assess and monitor the long term effects of spreading the poisoned bait?” says David Benson, representative of the community group Beyond 1080 Golden Bay, a coalition of local conservationists, hunters and animal lovers.

“The Golden Bay Community Board are to be commended for responding to genuine public concern,” Benson says. “We encourage the Tasman District Council to follow the Board's recommendation for public notification.”

Concerned residents may contact Leif Piggott, Co-ordinator of Natural Resource Consents at Tasman District Council (leif.pigott@tasman.govt.nz).

ENDS

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