1080 drops set to start: campaigners annoyed
Anti-1080 campaigners are calling it ‘‘the biggest fraud in New Zealand’s history’’ as the Department of Conservation gets ready to drop poison across the Dart, Routeburn and Caples Valleys from Monday.
Glenorchy residents were warned of the coming aerial 1080 drop in a letter from DOC earlier this month.
Former Ban 1080 Party member James Veint, whose family has a farm in the area, felt most of the community was against the Battle For Our Birds programme which planned to drop 1080 across 720,000 hectares of forest in New Zealand this year.
‘‘I’m still very, very much opposed,’’ Veint said.
‘‘I could come up with many, many accounts when DOC have killed native birds. The decrease in birds around our farm and adjoining bush is just dramatic.
‘‘I believe it’s the biggest fraud in New Zealand’s history.’’
Veint said most residents felt ‘‘vulnerable’’ and at the mercy of DOC and their continued advocacy of the poison.
‘‘DOC hold all the cards really.’’
There would be no physical protest over the planned drops in the area, but Veint said he would try and inform people of the dangers of 1080 to native birds, livestock and pets.
Veint’s father, Jim Veint, said the programme was a ‘‘waste of money’’ and there was a lot of ‘‘nonsense’’ being spread by DOC about its effectiveness in killing rats and stoats.
‘‘It’s just not justified,’’ he said.
The DOC letter sent to residents warned dog owners to exercise ‘‘extreme caution’’ due to its toxicity.
‘‘Poison baits and animal carcasses are deadly to dogs. Some poisoned animals may be found short distances outside the treatment area,’’ the letter said.
It also said overnight trampers could be held up while the drops took place anytime from Monday, September 5. DOC could not be more precise due to the weather.
DOC Queenstown partnerships ranger Chris Hankin said Battle For Our Birds was a sciencebased campaign and there would always be a small number of birds that ‘‘get to it’’.
‘‘But much more [birds] will die if you let the rats and stoats get to them,’’ Hankin said.
A change from the 2014 programme was having a deer repellent on the bait to protect small numbers of white-tail and fallow deer in the area, he said.
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