1080 drops set to start: cam­paign­ers an­noyed

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

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.

JAN MCKEN­ZIE

Ken­dra Breen, of Alexan­dra, won the women’s sec­tion of the 160km with a time of 28hr 04min 28sec.

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