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New Book on 1080 'Facts'

NZH science writer Jamie Morton has reviewed a new book on 1080 by scientist Dave Hansford - 'Protecting Paradise' that puts to bed some of the myths that have surrounded the 1080 debate over the last few years. It won't please the opponents (I do expect flack from Reihana and Geoffrey Robinson, people whose views I generally greatly respect, for even mentioning the book!), but it is high time that some of the myths were exposed.

I think I have made my position on the subject abundantly clear over time, and pointed to what I consider the main source of opposition - that of hunters with 'an axe to grind.' The safety of their dogs, and availability of game (pigs and deer principally) being the predominant concern, to the exclusion of all else. The widespread claims of cruelty being being nothing more than emotional claptrap, again without foundation. And the safety issue appears to be satisfactorily dealt with within the pages of the book, pointing to the alleged destruction of native birds as a total myth.

It is a major concern that NZ First through its spokesperson Mr Prosser are appearing to be picking up the mantle long carried by Peter Dunn purely as a vote winner. I say concern, because the current Government appears willing to sacrifice almost anything to stay in power after October next year.

Here is the most revealing part of the interview:

"There's a good reason we use so much: every other country has native mammals it can't risk harming with poisons, while, except for three types of bat, all our mammals are introduced pests, so 1080 might have been designed from the ground up for New Zealand use.

There is no myth about 1080 that hasn't been comprehensively debunked many times over.

Yet those myths are still propagated by sectors of the hunting community, and more recently, New Zealand First.

If this were all about getting to the truth of the matter, then those claims would've stopped being made long ago, but they persist.

That tells me there's something else going on here, and it would seem to be a deliberate campaign of misinformation to secure a political agenda.

1080 is known to kill deer, so some hunters consider that it's impinging on their sport.

That's undoubtedly a big reason so many myths are still being circulated.

In New Zealand First's case, it's clearly spotted an opportunity for votes - it means to pick up the hunting constituency that Peter Dunne will eventually leave ripe for the picking.

After a year and a half looking at this, I've concluded that 1080 opposition has nothing to do with science.

In some cases, it's about personal ethics - many people object to the animal welfare implications around poison, and I have no issue with that.

In other instances, it's part of a bigger belief-based system, which research is starting to reveal may very well be rooted in conspiracy thinking.

Finally, as we've seen, there's a political motivation there as well.

No matter what the basis for that kind of dissent, it's very clear that simply adding more information, providing more scientific evidence, won't shift those people, but I didn't write the book for them.

I wrote it for those people who are still undecided, or conflicted about 1080, but who prefer to form their positions on the strength of evidence.

I think the most effective advocacy of all is success: look at Abel Tasman National Park, where Project Janszoon has shown very clearly, that, if you get the pest off their backs, our birds, and snails, and lizards and insects just thrive.

People saw there that the sky didn't fall in when the Park got 1080 in 2014: but what they did see were kaka, and robins, and kakariki returned to the park.

They saw the giant snails rebound in numbers.

They heard the bellbirds.

It's real-world transformations like that which people will appreciate most, I think."




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Reader Comments (1)

Amen. Finally , someone other than DOC, putting their head above the parapet.
Having been castigated for years over my stand on 1080, I feel relieved that we are now having something close to the truth being put out there as such. Most of the those who oppose 1080 are rabid hunters who use emotive arguments about the cruelty of 1080, how possums die a very painful death. For me, I find the 'sport' of pig hunting more abhorrent. A fellow mammal is hunted down by a pack of savage dogs, bailed , bitten and tormented until the 'hunter' finally turns up and rolls the quarry on its back and finishes the poor animals life with a knife pushed through the chest into the pigs heart. Now tell more again which is the cruel version, possum dying quickly from a poison or a wild pig being killed by being 'stuck'?
Interestingly enough, 1080 turns into a flouride salt, once wet and despite what the local 1080 'experts' say, it willl not effect the aquaculture in the gulf or for that matter kill the local population of those people who live downstream of a 1080 drop. In fact, the people of Havelock North had a far worse expereince some months ago from water somehow being contaminated by cattle!
The photograph of over 100 native pigeon in a paddock on Arthur Hinds property at Whenuakite is sufficient evidence that controlling rats, stoats, possums by 1080 is the correct way. Can recall a helicopter ride up the middle of the Peninsula, where 1080 had been applied by air north of the Tapu Coroglen road. No pigeons could be seen in the untreated counry to the south, but once we arrived over the targeted area, pigions were clearly seen flying in groups of 15-20 or more. That was proof to me that 1080 did work, and worked well. With DOC controlling 33% of the Peninsula, they have no alternative but to drop 1080 from the air, for the heart of the Peninsula is far to rugged for trapping or laying baits. The Peninsula has already claimed the life of a DOC worker whilst shooting goats. In the past when DOC has put out more gentle contoured blocks for pest control, non of the rabid anti 1080 people have taken up the contracts--go figure!!
The 1080 anti's on the Peninsula are not worried about conservation but more concerned about the fact that some of their pig hunting activities may be curtailed or for others, their plots growing dope may be spotted. The anti 1080 mob are a disparate bunch, who, in the past have made many a persons life difficult, with all sorts of personal threats and targeted missives , so hopefully this will show those right minded, thinking people, that to make NZ pest free by 2050, 1080 is the way to go and those who have supported 1080 are now vindicated.
Oh, and the start of this new way forward was the recent non-election of Clyde GRAFF back onto the Waikato Regional Council, after all he was the face of the anti 1080 mob!! Long may it last.

October 24, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPossum in the headlights

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