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DOC welcomes arrest over threats against staff

The Department of Conservation (DOC) says it welcomes the arrest of a man over threats made against staff, saying this particular case has been harrowing.

Police have arrested and charged a man with blackmail in relation to four threatening letters that were sent to the New Plymouth DOC office over the past year.

Director General Lou Sanson says these letters were extremely nasty and DOC referred them straight to the police.

“I want to thank Police and DOC staff who have worked tirelessly on this case. It is completely unacceptable for anyone to threaten or intimidate DOC staff. This case demonstrates that action will be taken when any criminal offending occurs,” Mr Sanson says.

Recently there has been a significant increase in threats and abuse against DOC staff, both in person and online. Threats are mainly centred around the Department’s use of aerial 1080 to rid conservation land of rats, stoats and possums which are decimating New Zealand’s native bird species.

“1080 is the best tool for the job in large, rugged or remote areas and if we don’t use it forests will continue to be devastated by pests and we could lose our precious birds such as kiwi, mohua, and kokako,” Lou Sanson says.

“Where we are using 1080 to target predators, our native species have started to recover.

“DOC staff need to be able to get on with their job of protecting conservation areas without fear of being harmed or harassed,” says Mr Sanson.

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