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DoC ‘Managed’ Iconic Station Only TB Infected Farm

A former pest worker with wide experience of 1080 poison has labelled the toxin as ‘an ecosystem poison’ Laurie Collins employed in his working life with the Forest Service and on pest work in Marlborough, has pointed out the region’s only TB infected herd is Molesworth Station, publicly owned but managed by the Department of Conservation.

“Currently Marlborough is free of bovine Tb except for the publicly owned Molesworth Station, managed by the Department of Conservation. It is ironic the only Marlborough farm with Tb is the DoC-managed Molesworth,” said Laurie Collins now residing on the West Coast.

He said Molesworth’s open country was naturally poor possum habitat and therefore had very low numbers. Yet OSPRI with DOC’s sanction had aerially spread 1080 for possums, killing birds and animals with well over 350 poisoned deer hitting newspaper headlines at the time.

He also criticised OSPRI for several years ago, dowsing the Northbankt area in the Marlborough’s Wairau Valley with aerial drops of 1080 baits when authorities knew bovine Tb was introduced by the transport of Tb infected cattle from Inangahua on the West Coast and Clarence Reserve.

In 2016 MPI Minister Nathan Guy told Parliament in response to questions from NZ First MP Richard Prosser that of 9830 possums autopsied not one had Tb.

“My knowledge of 1080 poison goes way back to the late 1950s when government decided to trial the poison on fallow deer in the Caples Valley, Lake Wakatipu. As a young Forest Service cadet, I witnessed the cruel killing of many deer and native birds such as bush robins, kea and tomtits. My association with 1080 continued within the Forest Service and later in “pest” work with the Marlborough District Council on contract wages with Task Force Green,” said Laurie Collins.

In Marlborough the poison had a devastating effect on not only native birds but game bird species such as quail and chukar (Himalayan partridge), which raised the question as to why Fish and Game was silent on the use of 1080.

“1080 was first developed in the 1920s as an insecticide but shortsightedly adopted here as a “pest” poison. It still kills insects vital to the food chain and ecosystem for their pollination and other functions. In short, it’s an ecosystem poison,” he said.

Laurie Collins criticised the slanted science used to support 1080’s use. Science had generally not revealed that 1080 was an ecosystem poison because DoC and OSPRI commissioned scientists to do work.

“It is “paid” science and puts scientists in an awkward position of not biting the hand that feeds them,” he said.

However two retired USA scientists Pat and Quinn Whiting-O’Keefe now in NZ analysed DOC’s paid commissioned science around 1080. Originally from Stanford Research Institute and University of California, San Francisco in the USA with a considerable knowledge in chemistry and an expertise in statistical inference in complex systems, the pair said “there is certainly no evidence of net ecosystem benefit” and “considerable evidence exists that DoC's aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm —- given that 1080 is toxic to all animals. It kills large numbers of native species of birds, invertebrates and bats.”

Research indicated 1080 causes population explosions of rats and then stoats. Aerial 1080 stimulated rat explosions in that 20% surviving rats with a better food supply mushroomed to be 3-4 times original numbers within four years. Then stoats with abundant prey in rats, mushroomed in numbers.

Laurie Collins said with bovine Tb, NZ has been a victim of a big bureaucratic hoax. The world standard for a country to declare “Tb free” was 0.2% for Tb infected herds and 0.1% for infected cattle. New Zealand rates of Tb infection in cattle were slight, i.e. about 0.0019% average over the last nine years.

“It is so far below that required by world standards for a Tb free declaration – that New Zealand must be one of the world’s most Tb free countries,” said Laurie Collins..


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