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1080 – Not ‘Lucky To Have It’

23 July 2013

1080 – Not ‘Lucky To Have It’

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright's latest pronouncements on 1080 represents an ever-growing threat to New Zealand's ‘clean, green’ image, according to the New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association.

Her proposal to encourage wider use of the deadly poison is a retrograde step for the environment, and for effective, humane pest control, says NZDA National President, Tim McCarthy, of Timaru.

"It is a dark day when someone of her mana goes on record as saying its bad press is undeserved and that 'we are lucky to have it'," he said. "The NZDA is also deeply concerned that the Minister of Conservation is echoing this view. He is proposing less monitoring and less reporting of the effects of 1080 so they will have a larger budget to spend on it. This would mean using it more and studying its effects less, which is completely the wrong way round when dealing with an environmental hazard that still remains incompletely understood.

"But unfortunately Dr Wright seems to have decided the issue of 1080 is finally settled for all time and no further research or study is needed. This runs totally contrary to the basic principle of science that entails constantly revisiting ideas and beliefs and updating them in the light of new knowledge," Mr McCarthy said.

"She thinks the nation should just go ahead and use 1080 everywhere willy-nilly, like a shotgun on a slug – and the Minister is backing her up.

"The undesirable effects of 1080 are too well known to require spelling out yet again. What is needed is for the government to face up to the fact that we just don't need this deadly environmental poison. There are better and safer alternatives, such as self-resetting traps, and much more research to be done.

"With increasing areas of New Zealand becoming Tb-free, it is becoming harder to justify the use of 1080, yet the PCE is calling for more widespread use.

"Unfortunately Dr Wright has nothing to say on the issue of by-kill among valuable game animals that not only provide sport, recreation and food for tens of thousands of New Zealanders, but also are the basis of an important tourism and export industries. She also proposes that DOC should establish policy and procedures for the use of possum fur, which is ironic when poisoning will only reduce the fur harvest and stand in the way or obtaining a useful economic return from pest control methods like trapping and shooting.

"There have also been incidents where 1080 contamination posed a threat to our $6 billion-a-year game export industry. More widespread use of 1080 will increase the likelihood of incidents like this, including a greater risk of human fatalities and a loss of our ‘clean green’ image in the eyes of the world."

Mr McCarthy said that the PCE was also undermining the proposed Game Animal Council by recommending that it be established as an advisory rather than a statutory body. "This is just another attempt to represent the Council as a threat to wild animal control by DOC. In fact DOC is using 1080 operations as a clandestine instrument to destroy game animal populations under the guise of possum control, something the PCE seems unprepared to acknowledge or even discuss."

New Zealand Deerstalkers’ Association Incorporated (NZDA) is the national body of recreational deerstalkers and other big game hunters. We have 57 branches and hunting member clubs throughout New Zealand. We have 7200 members, and have been actively advocating for recreational deerstalking and hunting, running hunter training courses, trips, conferences etc since 1937. We maintain ethical standards for hunting.

ENDS

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