DOC welcomes prison sentence for 1080 blackmailer
The Department of Conservation (DOC) welcomes the prison sentence handed down today to the man convicted of blackmail for sending threatening letters to DOC staff in Taranaki.
In the New Plymouth District Court today, New Plymouth man Gregory Buchanan was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment.
DOC’s Director General Lou Sanson says he hopes this sentence will serve as a deterrent for others.
Anti-social behaviour and threats against DOC staff have grown over the past year from people who oppose predator control using 1080 to protect our indigenous forests and wildlife.
“The threats have moved beyond social media trolling to the targeting of vehicles, property and people. Staff and contractors have been followed, filmed, assaulted and threatened.
“I totally respect the right of people to protest lawfully and peacefully,” he says. “But it’s unacceptable for DOC staff to be threatened and fear for their lives while going about their important conservation work.
“My staff have the right to come home safely every day, emotionally, mentally and physically.
“Biodegradable 1080 is the best tool we currently have to knock down introduced rats, stoats and possums to give our native species breathing room to breed successfully. Without it, many of our precious native birds would become extinct within a few years,” Lou Sanson says.
“I would like to thank New Zealand Police for their work on this case. It’s good to see the police treating these matters seriously and following through. This sends a strong message that this sort of behaviour won’t be tolerated.”