Conservation organisation Forest & Bird and Federated Farmers today praised the report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) on the use of 1080.
Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Vallance said Dr Jan Wright’s well-researched report showed clearly that 1080 was a lifeline for New Zealand’s endangered native birds and forests. “New Zealanders love our native forests and wonderful birds, and we don’t want stoats, rats and possums to destroy our forest life. Effective pest control such as 1080 will stop introduced pests driving many species – including our kiwi – to extinction,” Ms Vallance said.
Federated Farmers was highly supportive of the PCE’s report, not just backing the use of 1080 for conservation purposes, but the beneficial role 1080 plays in controlling the spread of bovine tuberculosis (Tb) carried by pests such as possums and mustelids, like stoats.
“While the focus of the PCE report is about the conservation estate, farmers, through their rates and the Animal Health Board, fund pest control on the forest margins. It has to be remembered that farmers have voluntarily protected over 111,000 hectares of land under QEII National Trust covenants,” Federated Farmers pest spokesperson Donald Aubrey said.
“Conservation and farming are closely aligned because we have a common goal and a common tool. It’s about being good neighbours. What is good for the conservation estate in terms of pest control benefits farmers, and the work of farmers in controlling pests on farms benefits the DOC estate in return,” he said.
Ms Vallance said: “There’s no doubt that New Zealanders love native birds, and the pohutukawa and rata trees that turn our shorelines and forests red in summer. We need more people from every community helping to protect these natural taonga from the stoats, rats and possums that are destroying them. We endorse Dr Wright’s findings that 1080 is the best way right now to do this.”
1080 was a tool to enhance New Zealand’s international reputation for its unique birds and forests. “We share Dr Wright’s conviction that we cannot allow introduced pests to kill the forests on which we base our clean green image to the world,” Ms Vallance said.
“The great thing about this report is that anyone who has concerns about the use of 1080 can access the information and make up their minds based on the evidence.”
Federated Farmers praised the PCE’s report as an example of plain English that spells out the facts clearly.
“The PCE admits that she entered her enquiry dubious about 1080 but the more she examined it, the more she realised that it was head and shoulders above any alternative,” Mr Aubrey said.
“The report is a slam dunk for common-sense.
“Federated Farmers is convinced that opponents are attributing the effects of a number of less desirable poisons onto 1080, quite possibly because it’s easier to pronounce. The PCE’s report starts unravelling the mythology that has been built up around 1080.
“If we don’t use tools like 1080 that have been exhaustively examined, then the cost will be our identity and soul as a nation. Those in high office bagging 1080 need to reflect on their responsibility as New Zealanders for protecting our flora, fauna and economy,” Mr Aubrey said.
Many studies showed how much more practical and cost-effective aerial 1080 was in restoring forest and birdlife in large, inaccessible forest areas, Ms Vallance said. Ground control was simply not an option in many isolated New Zealand forests.
Forest & Bird and Federated Farmers backed Dr Wright’s call for New Zealand to use more 1080 to protect our forest life. “Forest & Bird wants the Department of Conservation funded so it can control introduced pests on more than the 12 per cent of the conservation estate it does now,” Ms Vallance said.
“Given it’s safer to swim in shark infested waters than for a kiwi chick to be born in the wild, Federated Farmers supports moving DOC resources from back office functions to its front line,” Mr Aubrey concluded.
Contact: Forest & Bird Conservation Advocate Nicola Vallance, 021 558 607
Contact: Federated Farmers Pest spokesperson Donald Aubrey, 027 623 7157 [today], 03 696 3747