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Minister Dunne 'Ignorant on 1080’s Destructiveness'

Minister Dunne 'Ignorant on 1080’s Destructiveness'

Government’s associate minister of conservation Peter Dunne has been taken to task by a recreational hunting advocacy over his comments in a letter on 1080.

Convenor of the Sporting Hunters’ Outdoor Trust Laurie Collins of the West Coast said in a recent letter to a North Island hunter, Dunne had revealed an alarming ignorance about the destructive nature of 1080 poison.

“Given that Mr Dunne has at election times, made a great play on his affinity with the outdoors, we find his stated support for 1080 to be hypocritical and ludicrous.”

In his letter Peter Dunne said he “supported its (1080) use as one of the suite of tools used to control the introduced pests that ravage our native species and ecosystems.”

“Mr Dunne has it totally wrong. He’s been naively sucked in by DOC’s propaganda and hyper-spin,’ said Laurie Collins. “In short 1080 is an ecosystem poison first invented as an insecticide about 1922. It was also found to kill other life from birds to animals so became a ‘pest’ poison.”

The poison 1080 still retained its insecticide property which some scientists in the 1990s had pointed out ecological dangers of, but which at the time, DOC ignored the research because it did not suit its policy of extensively scattering 1080.

Laurie Collins said he was unsure what specific “introduced pests” the minister was referring to but having noted DOC claimed herbivore possums were carnivores and that a Landcare Research scientist had claimed herbivore deer were predators, no one could be sure.

“At the end of the day minister Dunne seems totally unsure and totally out of his depth,” said Laurie Collins who early in his working career worked on the first 1080 trials in the late 1950s.

He also criticised Dunne’s excuse for 1080 that it was necessary for "a recent beech seeding mast event where predators reached plague proportions.”

“This is absolute nonsense and irresponsible because beech seeding years have been happening for millions of years. Bird life was prolific with dawn choruses regular all through centuries anbd most of the 20th century because Nature had established a balance within the food chain. Now native birds, insects and invertebrates are being poisoned by 1080.”

Dunne did not seem to understand predators and seemed unaware the kiore rat was introduced 800 years ago by Maori and the ship rat by Europeans possibly as early as the mid-18th century and certainly in the early 1800s by sealers and whalers.

“But the bird life dramatically declined in the early 1990s as DOC soon after its formation in 1987, set up its poison regime.

Laurie Collins said 1080 threw the food chain "out of kilter by its destructive effect on just about anything that lives”.

Nature bounced back but it was the multi-litter breeders like rats that came back in massive upsurges. A female rat could have over 40 young in the first year after 1080. Slow breeders like possums with one “joey” a year and native birds recovered much, much more slowly.

"The outcome is a plague of rats induced by 1080 followed by a matching upsurge in stoats as they preyed on rats. In effect DOC is stimulating with massive artificial upsurges, predator numbers. They are creating ecological mayhem.”

Laurie Collins said Minister Dunne was without question naively accepting flawed advice from his bureaucratic advisers.

"My advice is that he read recently published books by conservationist W Benfield that deal with the ecological folly, destruction and waste of public money of the poison-gravy-train,” he said. “He needs to do a lot of homework before embarking on such wild and extravagant statements."


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