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Geoffrey Robinson Wrong On TCDC 1080 

It is seldom that I take issue with Geoffrey - he and Reihana are formidable advocates for the anti-1080 movement, but in a letter to the editor in the 2 June Herald, he steps over the mark in his characterisation of TCDC's stated position on 1080.

Sure, hundreds of well-meaning protesters marched in opposition to a 1080 drop in 2010, and a thousand signature petition was presented. The heavily anti-1080 Coromandel Community Board did vote, I believe Geoffrey is correct when he says three times in opposition to its use, and in support of hunting, trapping and cyanide - no 1080.

But he is incorrect in claiming that the full Council accepted this point of view. After substantial debate (I was on the Council at the time), and after questionable chairmanship by the then Mayor, a motion was passed in support of the alternative methods of dealing with the problem, but not to the exclusion of 1080 if considered necessary - a 'chink in the door' for the 'anti's,' but a quite different conclusion to that stated by Geoffrey. 

The 'anti's' have endeavoured to create the impression ever since that the Coromandel Board decision had been adopted by the full Council when that was simply not the case. I don't believe that Council has debated the matter since then, and that the decision paraphrased above still stands.

Our current Mayor has certainly expressed anti-1080 sentiment on several occasions, but she is only one amongst nine,  and to change the stated position would require a 'notice of motion,' with almost certainly compulsory public consultation, and very likely an extremely damaging division within the District.

The 'anti's' could be expected to put up a valiant fight, but going by past experience, most would follow the unequivocal advice of Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment - Dr Jan Wright, and the Government's Science Advisor - Dr Gluckman, amongst many others who take the position that there is really no alternative, and that DoC must not have its hands tied in waging this battle, regardless of the views of a vocal minority.




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Reader Comments (1)

Hi Bill,

You are correct that the council did not explicitly vote to oppose all use of 1080 at all times. However, it did record its opposition where and when alternative control methods are possible, which, by the way, is arguably everywhere in the district.

For example, thousands of hectares of steep Moehau that DOC now prefers to regularly blanket with 1080 for the sake of management convenience and single-vendor contracting ease was very successfully tracked and trapped during the 1990s and early 2000s under the guidance of then-Hauraki manager John Gaukrodger, with DOC staff raving about canopy health and breeding success of kiwis during the period.

Despite technically leaving the door open to some use of the toxin under some hypothetical circumstances, it is very clear the TCDC votes were "anti-1080" and indicated opposition to the use of non-residual poisons (which include 1080).

But rather than you and I parse the official record, let's allow the reader to decide for her or himself. Following are the resolutions your council passed:

-- Resolves that Council advocate to the Minister of Conservation that where possible animal pest control in the Thames-Coromandel District be undertaken by trapping, hunting and non-residual poisons.

—Resolves that Council further advocate to the Minister of Conservation the potential for economic development in the growth of our possum fur exports.

—Resolves that council further advocate to the Minister of Economic Development the potential for economic development in the growth of our possum fur exports and the benefit of the job opportunities that are provided by the expanding market of possum fibre.

—Resolves to ask the Hauraki Coromandel Development Group to pursue feasibility funding from NZ Trade and Enterprise to develop the possum fibre market.

All the best,

June 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Robinson

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