Milk and two sug­ars?

The Northland Age - - Local News -

North­land re­gional coun­cil­lor Mike Fin­layson demon­strated his be­lief that 1080 does not poi­son wa­ter in graphic fash­ion last week when he, a mem­ber of the coun­cil’s biose­cu­rity team and about a dozen 1080 op­po­nents went into Rus­sell State For­est fol­low­ing the ae­rial ap­pli­ca­tion of 1080 ear­lier in the week.

“We found a few dead pos­sums and rats, and some pel­lets in the creeks,” he said.

“I took a wa­ter bot­tle and filled it up, and when we got back to base I boiled it up (in case of E. coli, etc) and made a cup of tea. I drank it in front of a few an­tis to show I wasn’t wor­ried about resid­ual 1080 in wa­ter­ways.”

No one had of­fered to join him, he added. A few had looked “gen­uinely wor­ried” and while most left be­fore he did, some saw him drink it.

“My strong sus­pi­cion is that a lot of well mean­ing peo­ple who gen­uinely care for the en­vi­ron­ment have had their emo­tions hi­jacked by emotive pro­pa­ganda — movies of dy­ing dogs or dead deer,” Mr Fin­layson said.

Some were try­ing to pass off mis­in­for­ma­tion as science, and that, com­bined with a strong anti-gov­ern­ment feel­ing in some quar­ters, was cre­at­ing a light­ning rod for “so-called ac­tivism”.

More en­cour­ag­ingly, he had raised the “ob­vi­ous need” for train­ing young peo­ple in kaiti­ak­i­tanga, and had found solid com­mon ground.

Last month Mr Fin­layson wrote in his North­land Age col­umn that he doubted he had ever en­coun­tered a topic that elicited such emo­tional at­tach­ment and dogged un­will­ing­ness to en­gage in the facts as 1080.

“When we meet in per­son there is feed­back from body lan­guage and other con­trols that (usu­ally) mod­er­ate the con­ver­sa­tion. As more of us go on­line and use so­cial me­dia, many peo­ple seem to park those con­straints and feel that they can just let rip,” he wrote.

Post­ing what he be­lieved to be a well-bal­anced New­shub doc­u­men­tary, which summed up the pros and cons of 1080 (www.face­book.com/ New­shubNa­tionNZ/videos/ 482504628933711/) on his Face­book page had at­tracted all man­ner of al­le­ga­tions, along with threats of vi­o­lence.

“Delv­ing deeper, I re­alised that a lot of peo­ple who are gen­uinely con­cerned about our en­vi­ron­ment and an­i­mals have had their emo­tions hi­jacked by the type of emotive pro­pa­ganda that would make Goebbels proud,” he added.

“Once this hap­pens logic and rea­son seem to take a back seat. Science is la­belled as ‘gov­ern­ment pro­pa­ganda’. The more ev­i­dence of the suc­cess of 1080 pro­grammes that is pro­vided the harder the op­po­site opin­ion is held. Con­fir­ma­tion bias, where any snip­pet of in­for­ma­tion, no mat­ter how un­ten­able, is in­stantly be­lieved and pro­lif­er­ates.”

Face­book had also con­nected him with some more mod­er­ate peo­ple who gen­uinely wanted to pro­tect the nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment but had se­ri­ous con­cerns about ae­rial drops of 1080, how­ever, and meet­ing those peo­ple had been much more re­ward­ing than “du­elling it out with key­board war­riors”.

PIC­TURE / CLAIRE GOR­DON

Shuan Hern Lee on his way to win­ning the 2018 Kerik­eri In­ter­na­tional Pi­ano Com­pe­ti­tion.

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