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1080 an important weapon in the war on pests

1080 an important weapon in the war on pests

1080 remains an important weapon in the current armoury of measures to combat the impact of animal pests – mainly possums, rats and stoats – on the environment and the economy and its benefits far outweigh any negative impacts.
In its 2016 Report on the aerial use of 1080 the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) acknowledges public concern about its use, and says it is one of the most closely monitored and controlled hazardous substances in New Zealand.

But it acknowledges that there are limitations to current eradication methods, particularly their inability to target specific predators, which might result in undesirable effects on non-target species.

It repeats the then Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s recommendation in May of this year that Government engage with all New Zealanders on the potential uses of genetic techniques to control predators.

The report also notes that in 2016:
- 1080 was distributed over more than one million hectares. This was a significant increase on the 375,000 hectares in 2015, and was the result of the Department of Conservation’s Battle of the Birds programme to control an expected rodent and stoat plague, a result of climatic conditions causing excess seeds and flowers feeding predators and native species alike
- operations focused on protecting significant ecosystems, indigenous species and their habitats, including at-risk populations of birds such as the mohua, whio, kea, kaka, rock wren, bush robin, rifleman, morepork and kiwi
- nearly 50 percent of aerial operation plans were amended following extensive consultation with iwi
- no evidence was found of adverse effects on the public’s or operators’ health following 13 incidents and two complaints which were all breaches of Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) regulations.

The EPA has controls in place to ensure the safe use of 1080 in New Zealand.

“The New Zealand public can be confident EPA will continue to exercise its legislative responsibilities in respect of the aerial use of 1080 competently and in the best interests of New Zealanders, the New Zealand environment and the New Zealand economy,” the report states.

Note for Editors: The EPA receives post-operational reports for all aerial 1080 pest control operations, and publishes them annually.

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