1080 – My View. Alan Simmons

1080 – My view.
Alan Simmons

As a landowner in the central North Island not a month goes by without another 1080 poisoning operation notice in my letter box.
Since the 1080 “terrorist” scare the Doc, Epro or TB free NZ or whatever they call themselves these days…have been using it at will with little criticism from the anti 1080 people.
I can understand that. Speak up and you will get a visit from the police. This is a dreadful state of affairs in a democratic country. It almost makes one muse that the 1080 “terrorist” scare was orchestrated by the proponents of 1080! It certainly has had a good effect in bowling over any criticism of 1080.
I wonder if the police ever questioned any of them!

I don’t understand why the “Environmentalist” and the outdoors people are at odds over 1080. Surely everyone wants the same outcome of protecting our wonderful bush and wildlife, so why are the two sides so vehemently opposed to each other. I would have thought the environmentalists would be appalled at the indiscriminate use of such an insecticide and crying out for alternatives to be found. On the other hand the anti 1080 group want a complete ban on it over night without any real understanding of the consequences.

So what of the current operations to “rid New Zealand of TB in cattle”.
The latest one to be announced is the East Taupo Forest, an area of production forestry between the shores of Lake Taupo and the Kaimanawa ranges. This is an area with more roads than a suburban town and yet they intend to indiscriminately aerially sow the 1080 pellets. All the while hundreds of unemployed sit around in Turangi thinking they had better go for hunt to get some wild pork to feed the family. Well sorry guys forget wild pork or venison for many years to come. You can eat rice and noodles instead and it is your own Trust Board that has approved it!.
Does this seem like a complete nonsense to you, it does to me!
My objections are to the indiscriminate aerially spreading of this obnoxious poison especially in areas close to a town or easily accessed.
Give unemployed people a job filling bait stations which target opossums and leave wild pigs and deer for the whanau to eat. It also gives them Mana by having a job of looking after their own land.
For the holiday makers to lake Taupo over Xmas be warned, do not take your dog down to the lakeshore and trust me if you ever see a dog die of 1080 you will be horrified.

As I watched the chopper working its bucket of poison all over the lovely mountain of Pihanga that shelters the town of Turangi I immediately thought what a thoughtless uncaring action by some bureaucrat far away to make that decision. Again not one part of that mountain is more than an hours walk from anywhere. Pihanga like East Taupo is the “meatsafe” of Turangi and the town has 100’s of unemployed some of whom made a living as possum trappers before aerial 1080 came along. It does not make sense!

Looking at the documentation about that drop, it was to be another poison used called diphacinone as a control on rats and mice. Even the signs said that, but on a walk to Lake Rotopanamu there is also a sign saying Warning 1080 on the ground since August. This in a high usage area where hundreds of New Zealanders and Tourists walk every weekend. Clean Green New Zealand eh!
I am sure their objective is to confuse everyone with mixed messages about the poisons used while the people who really know are kept silent by being labelled “1080 terrorists”. Close to my house I found a 1080 pellet right in the middle of a walking track down the Tongariro river …and photographed it… But the information I had been sent informed me that another bait was to be used… And then 1 month later I received another letter saying they were also going to use 1080, this was weeks after I had found the pellet on the track.

Being the devils advocate one could ask “I don’t understand why people have a problem with 1080 if you read the “spin doctored” brochure published by the “National Possum Control Agencies” and sent out with every information pack”. Its a wonderful product that is saving new Zealand from the hoards of possums that are ravaging the country. In this brochure they ignore or gloss over plenty of established science and no one is bringing them to heel over it.
Just ask any bushman or hunter who has witnessed its effects and you would have to ask where is the SPCA in all of this. They of all people should be jumping up and down.
So few people today understand that it was invented as an insecticide and it is also killing the insects that live in the ground like earthworms and Cicada larvae. Why are kiwis dying because they eat worms! Where are our cicadas …the wonderful noise of the New Zealand bush… Nearly all gone.. But they (whoever they is this month (( Animal health Board, Epro, DoC, National Possum Control Agencies etc)) ) will never tell you it is an insecticide, that is gets into trout in our waterways and that you could be poisoned from eating trout. They will never tell you about the people who have been poisoned from eating wild meat or even died from it. That is all hush hush but ask around any town like Turangi and the stories are rife.

I would like to see a force of young men set up just like we had in the past as Deercullers or Rabbit Board to become experts on pest control. Jobs in the bush for young men.
I would like to see a complete shift away from aerial application of 1080 to the use of bait stations and I would like to see urgent meaningful work on finding alternatives. But while 1080 is a huge business in New Zealand for both the manufacturers and the helicopter industry I see little chance of that happening any time soon.
To my way of thinking the only way to reduce the use of 1080 is via political means and to do that needs a realistic policy that works towards its demise and I am hoping that debate will come from the members of the Newly formed NZ Outdoors party.

I guess I had better get ready for the knock on my door from the Police!
Alan Simmons