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DOC 'dithers' while Kiwis die

DOC 'dithers' while Kiwis die

Dithering by the Department of Conservation is costing the lives of New Zealand's national icon, the kiwi, says National's Conservation spokesman Shane Ardern.

DOC announced today that four kiwi chicks have been killed in the West Coast's worst stoat plague in four years.

"Sadly, this comes as no surprise." Mr Ardern says. "This incident follows 13 in the same area in January 2003.

"Labour Conservation Minister Chris Carter said after last year's devastation that DOC would develop better mechanisms to prevent a repeat of such a disaster.

"His procrastination is costing the lives of our national icon. He is putting our heritage at risk by failing to utilise the most effective weapon against stoats - 1080 poison."

Mr Ardern says DOC is failing to control stoats in National Parks.

"In parliamentary questions, Mr Carter refused to confirm the number of stoat-related kiwi deaths in the past five years. He went on to reassure me that all National Parks have stoat control policies in place. It is now obvious that what is in place is paltry and ineffective.

"Drastic action needs to be taken before we lose an integral part of our culture," says Shane Ardern.

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