Aerial 1080 on the West Coast

West Coasters are fighting off a massive aerial 1080 drops over their homes and water supplies – you might have seen them on TV in the past few weeks.

The drops is an Animal Health Board program for controlling Tb (by killing off possums, which are a Tb vector).

I visited the Coast last week, including the area in Kumara where the first drop is expected in a few weeks. It is not steep remote country; rather it is an expanse of flat forested land and accessible hills, with a large water reservoir in the middle. The AHB has agreed, after fierce advocacy from the locals, to move the borders of the aerial drop further away from the reservoir, but there will still be major drops all through the catchment from which local residents get their drinking water.

1080 is still an essential tool for the protection of our native flora and fauna, but where the land is accessible there are good reasons for using non-aerial methods of pest control, especially for Tb control around farms and water catchments. Ground based controls can and should be used in these situations. It provides employment and local economic activity, it reduces the presence of toxic chemicals in the environment, decreases the bycatch of non-target species including natives, and keeps 1080 out of the water supply. 1080 does break down in water, but the process is slower in colder temperatures and aerial drops are often done in the middle of winter because the possums are hungriest.

The solution lies in working with the communities such as Kumara – and Karamea further north is facing the same – to find a solution that works for the community, for biodiversity and for farmers. Dumping whole communities with poison only creates tension and disagreement – this is completely unnecessary and the relevant authorities should know better.

Last week as well there was the report of someone who poisoned the family pet of a Greymouth pest control officer. I hope that person is caught and punished for the unnecessary death of an innocent animal and for terrorising a family.

47 Comments Posted

  1. You’ve opened up at least six different subjects with that post chaseme :D:D
    All of them very relevant…..

    Cattle aren’t really a major problem though, they don’t get farmed anywhere near as intensively as dairy cows, now they are a real problem.

  2. Well the truth is we will never be rid off possums. I say stop farming cattle and get back to our grass roots and plant trees. We have the biggest fresh water resivior in the southern hemsphire and more coast line than America. As a nation we could supply food water and wood to show those supa powers what it means to be super.Get real guys stop hassleing the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Start been pro active and reforest our country so there’s enough forest both for us the Fauna and our friends the great aussie possim.
    Well back to my cosy office, coushy adjustable chair and sink back to lazyniess. More hydrological data analysis. 🙂
    (Hamma lives on)

  3. Congratulation to the West Coaster you did not win totally but you made the AHB sit up and think, they cut back the size of the job to miss your drinking water and with the rush to try and beat the protests they may not get the result they want so this shows that they will compromise their standards. Now where is what you have to do; 1 with all the TV and video footage check if you can prove that they did not do their job within the Medical Officer of Health Guide lines, one area I would look at is the dust that was seem blowing around on the TV news. 2 Check that they Correctly disposed of any unused poison and poison bags. 3 Check the farm boundaries for over flies. 4. It is an offence to leave the signs up after the all clear is given. 5 The most important help your local contractors to do the job with methods you accept. If you have friends that are farmer encourage the to make their farms 1080 and Brodie free as I believe that Brodie will be the down fall of the NZ exports as it is an accumulative poison and the AHB plaster all over farms. 6 Someone make contact with the group in Turangi and compare notes on the way EPRO of Taupo handled the operation and the over fly they have the idea that by bullying they can walk all over the locals.

  4. Lets look at a area of concern that is also a lie. The number of possums in NZ. We heard the figure of 70 million where did it come from is it correct. I can say infacticly NO why? Well here is how it came about. Many years ago in the late 80’s at a National Science Strategy meeting on Pest Control a group sate down over a beer and calculated the number of possums in this country the late Dr Keber made the notes on the back of a cigarette packet to do the additions the discussed the size of NZ and a percentage in Native, Farmer, Forestry, Scrub and the number they believed live in each did their maths and come up with 70 million. It have may been right but is it not time that we redid this calculation we now have so muck research on how many live where and how many AHB DOC and Trappers kill (which is a 2.1 million a year 60 ton of fur is about what I have been told has been sold in the last 12 months plus skins) AHB if the figure of $25 per possum at $80 million is 3.2 Million Doc I have no figures to work on but lets use 1.8 million as it make things easy. This adds up to 7 million 10% of the population per year and the population stays stable. But if you ask an older trapper there are for less possums around now than he can remember in the 80’s and I would tend to agree. But we have no evidence as no body will pay for the research as if the numbers are on the decline they may find that Questions will be asked why is the possum costing us so much. May be it is time that the politician asked for this research to be done.

  5. When it comes to getting facts right you’d better sharpen up.

    Fact 1) Full research has not been done on the effects of 1080 on bug’s and invertebrate which are right at the start of any food chain.

    Fact 2) The offshore scientists don’t seem to agree with the locals.

    Fact 3) Australian’s are getting hood winked as well. They have the native mammals including massive amounts of bats you speak of…..

    Fact 4) There is much better and more effective ways to control pests, all that 1080 is doing is taking the cream off the top, not very effectively either these days. 1080 COULD have been used as a tool but the boat has sailed on its usefulness now because of the current over-use. It was never the whole toolbox and was never going to be.

    Fact 5) This is all about profit verus cost. It has nothing what-so-ever to do with what is best for the country. The funny thing is there is a more cost effective way to control them.

    There is one way to get control of the possum and poisoning the country doesn’t have much to do with it. But what would I know? Let me see………oh that’s right, I do pest control work.

  6. We I don’t like saying told you so but read this and think. Type into Google 1080 sperm counts it may surprise you that the official line is that there are so few using 1080 its not a problem. The reason they say that is there are so few people using it as they only count the people with Licenses and not the 20 other worker working under them and I can tell you guys it works as most my mates have no kids as well.

  7. An Ode to HAMMA (The poisioned One)
    Well got out of the office today took some great photos of the High Flows of Mangapiko, Little Wipa, Huihuitaha, & Lake Ngaroto, Nice time to reflect on the deforestation of our country while half of our sub soil makes it’s way down to the ocean. The ironic thing is I get paid for this, by the very companys who support the dairy industry (not sure now for how long). The sooner we wake up as a nation & start supporting each other instead of building 6 foot fences the better. When i was a kid & we ran out off milk for breakfast we didnt just go next door to borrow some milk, we went there to have breakfast. Bring back this kiwi spirt & support well bieng for our people & the environment.

  8. The reason NZ uses the majority of 1080 is very simple. We have no native mammals (except for the bats). In other countries i.e. in parts of Europe or the US or Canada, you risk poisoning your native fauna, which includes mammals. Here in NZ, we are uniquely placed to be able to use a toxin (which, if you READ the facts i stated above) that is derived from plants that evolved the toxin to keep browsing mammals at bay.

    There are no conspiracy theories here. the facts about 1080 are easy to find if you look for them, but it seems people are more content to continually spew forth misinformation and scaremongering tactics.

    i was interested but not surprised to hear that the farmer had given permission after all – and it is simply another example of ‘never let the facts get in the way of a good story’.

    I am disappointed that on a Green blog, whereby the protection of our native fauna and flora should be of great concern, that people are blind to the overriding issue of what is at stake here. our natural heritage.

    Before anyone posts a reponse, i would recommend reading the simple facts noted above.

  9. If 1080 is so good how come we use the bulk and Aussie uses the rest of the world supply?
    It seems to me that the science being used here is a one off, where is the offshore backup to what our scientists reckon?

    This is a weapon of mass destruction, so we plaster our own country with it. That is just dumb.

  10. Well just a short note about the the deer that were killed. What you didnt hear from the media waz WCDC were given authority to spread 1080 on that farmers property. The contractors even moved the cows for him, they were never once told about the dear. Alos the person you saw on Tv was not the owner of the farm but the farmers son. Well confussion confussion…. Um while I sit on my bum & do some more environmental monitering & data anaylising.

  11. I totally disagree with the antics of some of the anti 1080 lobby and i am-anti areal 1080. Of cause ERMA approve the use of 1080 a year ago but what is starting to come out is the amount of regional council, Animal Control products, DOC money went into making sure that the approval went through. I know of at least one pest ,anger that has lost his job because the regional council realise how much money they had put into the campaign, If you ask independent oversea scientist to peer review the research that was put up in support of the approval of 1080 by DOC and the AHB you will find most of them have heard from their sources that the reseasrch if flawed. The was also and agreement between some researchers in Austilria and New Zealand that they would support each other aproval because it is the best cash cow they have ever had. Start asking questions on how much money is spent on 1080 research each year who pays for it and why are the results alway pro the payers policy.

  12. Well Hey guys
    Just like to give you a update. I am the contractors brother whos dog waz killed. Well that dog has been a working dog for ova 10 years, got my brother were he is to day by protecting and enhancing our forest, that dog done a lot more for our country than half of us who sit on our asses and moan . By all means I’m a greene even voted the greens twice third time the Maori party. I dont totally agree what my brother is doing but i think we forget the biggest threat to our Fauna is loss of habitat. Yep We are the problem. My niece and nephew had to witness the dog vomiting and convulsing while my brother drove home to get his gun. Gun, brother and dog disapear (Hamma) Nice experince for the kids !!!!
    This problem is now out off contorl, one of the coasters assulted my brother and is now in court. Come on guys get a grip!!!!!
    While been filmed which you saw on Tv the guys taunted my brother howz ur dog howz ur dog …. Well hes dead This same coaster told my brother yes he killed his dog & it waz in self defence, I do hope this guy fronts up like a real man & faces the music before someone deals out west coast justice.
    Lets stop bieng so personall & start working together to solve this problem. The distress this is causing to every one involved is not good for our health or our country.
    I might sound a bit emotional but I LOVED that dog tooo
    Cya Hamma Love u

  13. I wish there were better facts out there about 1080. All we hear is from the raving anti brigade – its time for some balanced information.

    Fact: in 2007, ERMA (as an independent authority) approved the use of 1080 in NZ, after a review which DOC and the AHB APPLIED for, to be certain of their operations.

    Fact: the financial significance of the cattle industry (particularly on the Coast), is worth $14 billion to the economy. My family clearly remember neighbours not even being allowed to move their stock if there was a risk of TB.

    Fact: with no native mammals except for bats, NZ’s wildlife is especially at risk from predators including possums. Possums eat bird eggs, chicks and even adult birds.

    Fact: 1080 is derived from a naturally occuring substance found in plants in Australia, South America and South Africa, which evolved the substance to deter browsing mammals.

    The hysteria needs to stop. And it is completely unhelpful for the anti-brigade to lower themselves to violence and dog-poisoning to try to prove their point.

    PS. when the public submissions came in on the ERMA 1080 review, more submissions were in support than against.

  14. What I was on TV last night raise one major concern that DOC should look at. Many years ago we were killing many small native birds with the small chips of 1080 pellets floating in the air the fantails and other small birds used to chase it like it was a small insect and it killed them. DOC best practice state that all bait must be screened to stop this happening so way was there so much green dust floating about. This could also be brought to the Medical Officer of Healths attention as in that area they may be going over the allowed amount of toxin dropped per hectare would be hard to prove.

  15. Who’s got the money to?

    The two outfits you want to take there have a never ending supply of the stuff, or so it seems….

  16. As the UK have found out, tuberculosis is not caused by badgers but by intensive farming… same as here. DoC and AHB are, in my opinion, criminals over the use of 1080…. and other poisons. I agree with you Sika… somebody should take these people to court…. but who? Nobody seems to have the courage 🙁

  17. As I have become more upset at the actions of the AHB and some of it contractor in the way they treat the general public, They seem to think the way to fix a problem is to attack the source eg attacking the people in Turangi where the director of EPRO was advised by Epro staff and the Lakeland helicopter pilot that there were animals in the drop zone, he accused the Turangi people of putting the pellets in the water. Now I see that they are trying to accuse the farmer of the deer that were kill of some thing untoward. Can they not take responsibility for their mistakes or is it part of the litany of lies like the cattle catch TB from the possum where it is the cows and the farm deer that give it to the wild possum and deer TB in the first place. The major drop in TB this country has seen in the last 3 years is not due to possum control but due the AHB bring in tighter stock movement control and at last prosecuting offenders. I believe it is time the AHB was made accountable to somebody. Come on you politicians step up to the mark and question their motives.

  18. The AHB don’t seem to like seeing anyone making a bit on the side-even though it’s just going to waste, which seems to me to be so wasteful it’s not funny.

  19. Hi
    My idea is not to pay on a token but on an exportable product. I do not like to see waste so if the the bonus was paid for skin and fur then the country would get the export return. Also I can not understand why the AHB forbids contractors from taking fur and and skins.

  20. Spot on Sika, I tried to get that wee piece of info on how much they paid pre possum for a very long time. NO ONE would let on.

    The token thing would be far more economical than they want to let on, everyone should note that it was only when the furry critter lover got on the band wagon that the possum numbers got away.

    I worked on a 1080 program year’s ago, what a shambles, putting poison out in the rain, not prebaiting then wondering why the strike rate was so bad.
    The whole thing is a balls up and one day it is going to cost us both financially and in other way’s yet to be seen

  21. I see the AHB has had another overfly and dropped 1080 on a farmers paddock. When are they going to stop this. It would be interesting for someone in Parliament to ask how much and often has the AHB had to pay compensation o a farmer. I could tell you of a large number in the King country in the 1990 and it still go on if it was on public record then it may surprise the powers to by and something could be done about it.

  22. Hi
    I have been in the possum industry many years and are still involved in the export of skins and fur. recently I was give the figure of $25 per possum for the Animal Health Board and DOC to kill each possum. We can do it for $4 and create more jobs, export earning and administration will cost very little. If the government put a $4 (this is standard price the buyer pays plus $4 bonus) on every possum skin and $80 bonus on every kilo of fur as it takes approximately 20 possums to make up a Kilo of fur ( at present the trapper gets$105 per Kilo so the trapper would get $190). The AHB and DOC say it would cost to much to administer but here is how to save this, the 6 or 7 company’s that export or supply fur and skins to the local market pay for the product and the at the end of each month bill the government for what they have brought. Checks on export receipts would show that the buyer are not fiddling the system. I have calculated that this would cost on today’s exports 1.5 million but with the increase of returns to the trapper could cost up to 3 million. It would have make it very viable for a trapper to work in areas where he would only catch 20 to 25 possums a day. On the above calculations a trapper would earn a minimum of $250 per day approximately. Between Ahb and DOC they spend 80 million a year so if they gave up 5% of this I beleive the possum numbers would start to really drop.

  23. wow panda, that was an incisive piece of argument, well done.

    from my own experience of being bombed with poison from the air, the AHB may have GPS, but they don’t seem to understand hydrology. they’ll give you a 150 buffer around your water INTAKE and happily bomb poison all through the catchment that drains to that intake.

    me, i’d rather not drink it.

  24. BTW just to prove I am not hiding, listen to the farming show tomorrow om the radio sport network or ZB depends on where in the country you are
    I am hosting it

  25. sweeping generalisations and uninformed gabble?????

    depends on you point of view PK

    a)1080 is not a cure for TB, which, in the main, is spread by ’stock movement control’ laziness in the cow industry – (and only complicated by wild creatures) – just a few careless people can spoil it for the efficient farmers we all admire.

    sweeping generalisations and uninformed gabble

    b) Aerial 1080 drops, however carefully plotted, fall wildly off target as exemplified in the Hari Hari drop straight into a waterway.

    sweeping generalisations and uninformed gabble

    c) 1080 does not break down in water, it merely splits into Fluoro Acetate and Fluoro Citrate, which are undetectable in water (it’s the Citrate that’ll kill you).

    sweeping generalisations and uninformed gabble

    d) 1080 protesters are not ‘rent-a-crowd’ but the ‘thinkers’ among us, who deserve more respect, try it, you’ll like it – but don’t let me hold you up, I hear you have a real hot spot for TB up your way – not surprising really.

    sweeping generalisations and uninformed gabble

    e) ‘Kicking up a fuss’ is actually a label applied in ignorance to ‘free speech’ so be careful there, Hitler tactics are less popular in modern times panda

    ahh yes the old green trick of referring to Hitler and the Nazis if you dare to pop your head up and be slightly right wing
    if you are not be a convert to the new religion of climate change and you are a Climate change denier (= holocaust denier)

    if you dare question the prevailing wisdom of green philosophy and you are right wing NAZI reactionary!

    oh dear about time you came up with some new put downs the Nazi line is getting a little tiresome and if I may say so a little offense!!!

  26. I can not confirm this someone might. Someone could ask the question in in parliament. I do know that Animal Control Products is a Government SOE and that they are expanding their building at present they are out for tender. What I have been told is it is to manufacture 1080 stock solution to be used in 1080 baits is this true and who has approved of the manufacture of the raw material in this country.

  27. Its not only the areal that is going to hurt this country. I have seen videos taken by staff at Massey for Professor Morris years ago of cattle knocking bait stations and eating the contents. 1080 and Brody now lets look at the Food Safety Authorities on the collection of wild meat for an area that has been treated with Brody you must not collect any product with 1 Km and within 3 YEARS so all the farms that have had Brody used on them and any farm within 1 Km should not be allowed to sell any meat or milk for 3 years wait for the farmers to start crying to the government. But it gets better the Animal Health Board is not a government organisation it is an incorporated society of the Federated Farmers. Who are the main backers of the National Party so it going to get worse not better.

  28. You guys have to be joking if you really think 1080 is not causing undue harm.
    I took my kids and our pet dog tramping last year from Poronui station to the Oamaru Hut, then up the track to the swing bridge and over to Clements Mill road in the Kaimanawas.
    When I got to the hut I was warned DOC had dropped 1080. Going up the track there was death everywhere, rabbits, hares, rats and mice – sure!, but also birds and fish – you name it!
    Luckily I had a medical kit and was able to tape my dogs mouth shut to stop it eating any dead birds or animals on the track. Not a pleasant walk for the dog – or the kids who had to look at the deaths

  29. as to the dogs being poisoned.. ask yourself? Dog eats rabbit…. death…
    cat eats mouse… death… morepork eats mouse… death…kiwi eats poisoned anything with maggots in it… death…strewth… rocket science. Go on poisoning….
    I get moreporks poisoned right left and centre… history…. but go DoC… I’ll just pick up the bits you leave:(

  30. aahh panda panda panda, what sweeping generalisations and uninformed gabble.
    a)1080 is not a cure for TB, which, in the main, is spread by ‘stock movement control’ laziness in the cow industry – (and only complicated by wild creatures) – just a few careless people can spoil it for the efficient farmers we all admire.
    b) Aerial 1080 drops, however carefully plotted, fall wildly off target as exemplified in the Hari Hari drop straight into a waterway.
    c) 1080 does not break down in water, it merely splits into Fluoro Acetate and Fluoro Citrate, which are undetectable in water (it’s the Citrate that’ll kill you).
    d) 1080 protesters are not ‘rent-a-crowd’ but the ‘thinkers’ among us, who deserve more respect, try it, you’ll like it – but don’t let me hold you up, I hear you have a real hot spot for TB up your way – not surprising really.
    e) ‘Kicking up a fuss’ is actually a label applied in ignorance to ‘free speech’ so be careful there, Hitler tactics are less popular in modern times panda
    f) well, it’s a good family show, so I wont add to ‘f’

  31. I doubt very much that Sue K. would approve of this poison being used.
    In my opinion it is criminal. 1080 is banned in the USA but being made there and sold to our goverment…. it stinks! When is somebody within the govnt going to take this issue up? Clean green NZ.. what a joke! Time a whole lot of us contacted overseas touriest operators!

  32. Hi ya Panda,

    I was on the coast for two days last week and Sue K was there the week before. I held 3 public meetings and I meet with people involved in 1080 and other issues. I would have come to talk to you too if you have made contact with me about it and indeed, when I return to the Coast I would be happy to meet with you then. Others clearly knew that Sue and I would be around and made appointments. Keep an eye on the papers and our website and you will know when we are coming down. We’re not hard to find or to contact.
    cheers, Metiria

  33. Brodifacoum which I understand is far more harmful than 1080 has been used in Russell Bay of Islands. 5/6/7 years ago we had moreporks galore.. no longer…
    these poisons should not be used. You cannot poison off one species without affecting the entire food chain.

    Interestingly enough… a few months I noticed skinks in my garden… lots.. I phoned up DoC to ask how I could help the skinks… what houses I could build… they told me… ‘ put poison down to kill off rats, mice etc’…. I was appalled at their advice! Morepork eat poisoned mice….. this is a governtment department giving out advice to the NZ public? Gawd.. heaven help us!

    Yeah… keep spreading the 1080.. broadifacoum… endulfulsan…. what a joke.. clean green NZ 🙁 🙁 :((

  34. I worked on areal and ground based 1080 operations over many years and totally supported it. Even when I was private contracting I used it and got marvellous results. But theres a big but i relised that after using it I could find no Morepokes, Native Falcons, Hawkes. Pukekeo, Wekas, Kaka around. Also the incidence of TB in posssums is less 1 in 1000. Also be very aware of how the contractor disposes of the unuse bait we have found it leaching out of the ground in the centre of the north island.

  35. frog I can assure you the drops are not indiscriminate aerial drops
    they are very carefully plotted

    the kumara are is a real hot spot for tb and every year there is ground based dispensing already carried out and it is having limited effect

    in fact even with the aerial drop planned for this month the ground based programn is still happening

    I signed the paperwork for it on sunday

  36. panda, although I support more research being put into developing effective and less toxic alternatives to 1080, I do acknowledge that there are some areas that 1080 is still the only effective method of possum control, and even that there are some high country areas where aerial drops may be the only effective means of dispensing it.

    The bit I don’t get is why indiscriminate aerial drops are necessary in the relatively flat land around Kumara. From what I recall of the topography, I would have thought ground-based dispensing, which has far less non-target species toxicity, would be a viable alternative there.

  37. -the problem is to many green mps and activists don’t bother to talk to the people actually affected by your protests

    Wasn’t Metiria just down your way panda? and Sue Kedgley. Talking to ‘the people’.

  38. btw frog next time you are in our area come and talk to me
    Panda@Pandasport.co.nz
    the problem is to many green mps and activists don’t bother to talk to the people actually affected by your protests

    you my be pleasantly surprised by our willingness to listen and attempt to find common ground (something I don’t find very often from my left leaning friends)

  39. I live right in the drop zone and support the drop 100%

    The AHB have GPS all water water sources on our farm , it is well known that 1080 breaks down in water

    the protesters are the normal rent a crowd who oppose any thing and everything

    the sad fact is we need 1080 to control the TB spread which infects our herds

    in my immediate area there are at least 3 herds currently infected (I am c7) and very pleased to be so but it is a major problem that wont go away by burying our heads in the sand

    None of the protesters have their livelihoods affected by TB it is just a convenient cause to kick up a fuss

  40. Oh, and dangermoose, the potential moose habitat is down in Fiordland. Aerial 1080 is not used in that area. It’s hundreds of kilometres from the Kumara drop zone.

  41. Karearea, sounds it a bit conspiracy theoryish to me. Media article here explains it a bit: http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2286&Itemid=43

    Fair comments from one of the ‘protesters’: Carey Dillon was outraged to hear of the “illegal actions of radical fringes?. “At the inaugural meeting of the Kumara 1080 group I warned that all protests should be legal,? Mr Dillon said. “We had been making good progress with the West Coast Regional Council and AHB in terms of protection of human health. They had moved a long way to address community concerns. “All that good, positive and consultative progress has now been lost by this cruel and stupid act.?

  42. karearea
    Are you from the Coast?
    No poison operator would be stupid enough to put a 1080 sack near his beloved dog.
    The incident you are talking about was some dust on some overalls, dogs only need the tinyist lick of this stuff and they’re buggered.
    And seriously, a jack up by authorities?
    Get real, some nutter put those baits in the ute and they deserve jail for it.

  43. “Apparently a rumour is spreading on the coast that the dog poisoning was not a protester, but a jack-up by the authorities:”

    Yeah Right! 😉

  44. Apparently a rumour is spreading on the coast that the dog poisoning was not a protester, but a jack-up by the authorities:

    1. Why would someone do something so obvious in such a public place in broad daylight? Those sending the poison to MPs and so on have been a lot more careful in covering their tracks.

    2. Two other pest control dogs have died recently of 1080 poisoning. They had contact with 1080 operations such as sacks and the back of utes which had had bait on.

    So, the theory circulating on the Coast is that the dog was poisoned accidentially in 1080 operations, and bad protesters have been ‘framed’ for it.

    Apparently police are investigating… like canine ‘Murder she wrote’!

  45. A museum in Colombia I visited had a label on a stuffed moose (one danger too many for him) which said it came from the west coast of New Zealand.
    Have DoC taken the etheral and mysterious moose population of the coast into account before they start dumping 1080 higgledy piggeldy?

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