Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

OPINION PIECE - High poison residues in New Zealand wildlife

OPINION PIECE - High poison residues in New Zealand wildlife


Kathy White

The Department of Conservation is proposing a brodifacoum poison drop on Rakitu Island, near Great Barrier Island. Here are some of the reasons they shouldn't do it:

The entire western weka population was exterminated in a brodifacoum drop on Tawhitinui Island (1984); Nearly 60% of the Tawharanui Regional Park dotterel population died through eating brodifacoum baits and poisoned sand-hoppers (2004); Brodifacoum residues continued to be found in wildlife more than 24 months after the brodifacoum poison drop in and around the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project in Nelson (2005); Dolphins, penguins, fish, numerous dogs and birds mysteriously died after the Rangitoto and Motutapu brodifacoum drops. Vast numbers of dead horseshoe mussels washed up on Waiheke Island up to five months after the poison drop. Hundreds of dead birds also washed up on Coromandel Peninsula beaches in the months following (2009); More than 10,000 seagulls were killed in Shakespear Regional Park (2011).

Blue cod, mussels, limpets and birds had brodifacoum residues in them after the Ulva Island drop, prompting restrictions on harvesting. Dead robin nestlings on the island were found to have brodifacoum residues, indicating that poisoned invertebrates had been fed to the young birds. Nearly 90% of the weka population was also killed (2011); Brodifacoum and other anticoagulant residues were found in freshwater fish, eels and sediment in Southland (2012); After Great Mercury Island was poisoned, 16 dead seals and a multitude of birds and fish washed up dead on Coromandel beaches (2014);

A Landcare Research study of road-killed harrier hawks revealed 78% of those tested had at least one anticoagulant rodenticide in them. Some had as many as four different types. Brodifacoum was common.

It’s dangerous stuff, no doubt.

I asked Auckland Council for the results of their monitoring of feral pigs on islands in the Hauraki Gulf as part of our investigation in the Environmental Performance Committee at Waikato Regional Council. The Auckland Council reply stated that 13 out of 14 pigs tested positive for brodifacoum residues. Most of the pigs were on Great Barrier Island.

Brodifacoum has now been confirmed in fish, shellfish, pigs, bats, deer, eels and birds across New Zealand, which is a concern for those who hunt and fish. There’s also concern for those who commercially harvest wildlife. MPI notified a restricted procurement area for feral pigs in Marlborough due to high levels of brodifacoum residues in pig livers in 2004.

Why would we use brodifacoum when our own scientists have expressed concern about residues persisting in the environment?

Penny Fisher said in 2013 in her Overview/Summary – Environmental Residues of Anticoagulants Used for Pest Control, 10 June 2013.
“There is increasing evidence that uses of anticoagulants for both household rodent control and field pest management are resulting in widespread contamination of both terrestrial and aquatic wildlife. The latter is presumably through carcasses of poisoned animals entering waterways ….”

According to MPI, brodifacoum is the most inhumane toxin we’ve got, causing pain and suffering for days to weeks before an animal succumbs to internal haemorrhaging. Apart from the lethal effects, brodifacoum also causes sub-lethal reproductive and developmental damage. Would you choose to use brodifacoum if you knew it was also going to harm and kill the native species you’re trying to protect?

Personally, I hope DoC chooses to use methods of pest control on Rakitu Island that are less harmful to the wider environment long-term. And I'd like the government to stop making money out of manufacturing these poison baits through their company Orillion. It's a huge environmental and financial conflict of interest that finally needs addressing.

Kathy White is the Waikato Regional Councillor for Taupo-Rotorua and the current Chair of the Environmental and Services Performance Committee. This is her personal view.
****

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Government: Traffic Light Levels Announced


The levels at which different parts of New Zealand will move forward into the COVID-19 Protection Framework this Friday have been announced. Northland, Auckland, Taupō and Rotorua Lakes Districts, Kawerau, Whakatane, Ōpōtiki Districts, Gisborne District, Wairoa District, Rangitikei, Whanganui and Ruapehu Districts will move in at Red... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Why An Attack On Iran Is Back On The Agenda


Reportedly, Christopher Luxon has the edge on Simon Bridges in National’s leadership contest although there is no firm evidence for that hunch. So, one hesitates about joining a media echo chamber that amplifies Luxon’s chances ahead of the 3pm caucus meeting today. You know how it goes: Luxon doesn’t quite have the numbers, so his people start talking to the media to make him seem like the smart bet. Or even perhaps: Luxon hasn't got the numbers, and his people start talking to the media to talk up his support so that he gets a nicer consolation prize... More>>




 
 

Government: Delivers Reactivation Package As Aucklanders Reconnect For Summer
A new support package will help revive economic, social and cultural activities in our largest city over summer, and ensure those in hardship also get relief. The Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and the Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash... More>>



Government: Crown Accounts Reflect Strong Economy Amid Pandemic

The Government’s financial accounts continue to reflect an economy that has performed better than expected, despite the latest Delta COVID-19 outbreak. The Crown accounts for the four months to the end of October factors in the improved starting position for the new financial year... More>>

ALSO:

National: Christopher Luxon Elected Party Leader
Christopher Luxon has been elected Leader of the New Zealand National Party, alongside Nicola Willis as Deputy Leader. “It is a tremendous privilege to lead our great party, and I thank my colleagues for the confidence they have placed in me,” Mr Luxon says... More>>

Waitangi National Trust: Waitangi Week
The Waitangi National Trust has decided there will be no in-person events at Waitangi Treaty Grounds during Waitangi Week 2022. Under the COVID-19 Protection Framework it would be practically impossible to safely proceed with the usual events of Waitangi commemorations... More>>


Freedom Camping: Making Sure People Are Up To Play With Changes
People interested in finding out how the proposed improvements to freedom camping might affect them are being invited to an information-sharing webinar... More>>

AUT: Aucklanders Are Less Concerned With Covid
In reaction to commentary that Aucklanders are at breaking point after more than 100 days in lockdown and that compliance with the rules is under threat, AUT Emeritus Professor of Sociology Charles Crothers says... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels