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DOC’s 1080 campaign ‘biological warfare’

Thursday, 24 March 2005

DOC’s 1080 campaign ‘biological warfare’

DOC is conducting biological warfare in New Zealand’s backyard with its 1080 pellet drops the equivalent of the Vietnam era Agent Orange drops, Outdoor Recreation NZ chairman Paul Check said revealing DOC plans for New Zealand’s largest 1080 drop.

He said he was horrified to learn that the Conservation Department is planning an 82,200-hectare drop zone over prime New Zealand bush - “private land and waterways” - near Lake Taupo.

Outdoor Recreation NZ is affiliated to United Future and Mr Check will stand in the coming election as United Future’s Taupo candidate.

“Given that ERMA has not yet released its report on the long term residual effects of this toxin on the environment, this action is at best negligent and at worst an act of stupidity fuelled by ignorance and idealistic nonsense,” Mr Check said.

“And it beggars belief that given the water quality problems facing Lake Taupo, DOC would even consider aerial release of this toxin into prime waterways that feed into the lake.”

He questioned the logic of decimating an entire ecosystem “based on the doubtful premise that in the fullness of time native wild life will fully recover”, saying that carpet-bombing a nation to kill possums was ineffective and massively damaging.

“Surely the real solution to the possum problem is a multi-faceted approach incorporating the opportunity to trap and recover possums for what is a burgeoning export earner,” he said.

At a buying price of $75 per kilogram for plucked fur before it’s turned into value added product, the possum is potentially huge for New Zealand, he said.

United Future and ORNZ vehemently oppose the blanket aerial use of 1080, he said: “It’s a blight on the clean green image this country needs to promote.”

He said in the short-to-medium term, every effort should be made to find an eco-friendly and species-specific alternative toxin to replace 1080 in a multi-faceted strategy.


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