Aloha, To Whom it May Concern:….I just returned from my “umpteenth” trip to NZ. I have been going there since 1983. In the past 3 yrs, I have been going for 3 months a year to fly fish….and my fishing partner has been going there for 30 years to fish. Let me just establish that I justifiably have “boots on the ground” experience in NZ. I was there when the recent massacre took place in Christchurch. But I am not writing about that. I am writing because the adulation given to Jacinda Ardern may be warranted on some levels…but there is a bigger picture as to what is going on in NZ. ** We returned from our NZ trip this year one month early. The country has been saturated with poisons. Most significantly, 1080 poison (Sodium monofluoroacetate is the chemical name which accurately describes the structure of manufactured 1080 used for pest control in New Zealand). Jacinda condones its use. If you don’t know much about this, you should, as the rest of the world should know. They have been dropping 1080 POISON , saturating the country, since 1954. 1080 poison is deemed by the WHO as a weapon of mass destruction, and banned throughout the world, only used by Australia for dingo control …NZ uses 95% of all that is produced in the world. It kills anything that needs oxygen. EVERYTHING THAT NEEDS OXYGEN. It kills everything (from microscopic organisms to Horses)….but more cruelly than one can imagine. One veterinarian likened it to being electrocuted for 2 days straight before the animals actually die. Jacinda condones its use. I could go on and on with more FACTS…and will send you some links ….1080 was originally developed as an insecticide, then NZ magically turned into a “pest control” agent…to “save the birds”……But it kills birds, deer, stock animals, cows, horses, sheep, and dogs…and trout. PLEASE, PLEASE watch this video, at least…..”Poisoning Paradise". It is by Clyde Graf and won international documentary awards. But NZ will not allow it to be shown in this country.https://youtu.be/yQRuOj96CRs
Most recently a friend that I met in NZ , a staunch anti-1080 advocate, who shared the most disturbing thing yet. She was been spied on by the NZ government because of her writing the truths about it, and they deemed her a “propagandist”. There is a media blackout in NZ concerning the truths about 1080. The only way you can get any information is through social media. But the world needs to know the truth…which is that NZ is anything but the “clean, green, pristine” country they advertise it to be…the greatest advertising lie ever told. The other lie, that NZ recognises all animals as “sentient beings”. ( https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/animal-emotions/201506/new-zealand-declares-animals-be-sentient-bans-testing)*** IS THE BIGGEST PROPAGANDA stunt ever told... you see these photos below, you will understand why. I will provide you with the most recent postings ….photos of the 1080 drop (as it is dropped out of buckets carried by helicopters) they did on Molesworth Station. Over 4000 deer, just there, were cruelly killed. It is very disturbing. More than disturbing. Some will not be able to look at these photos, but it shows the completely inhuman way that these animals die. (Some take 4 days to die in excruciating pain)
With our most recent trip, we found the water quality in their rivers and lakes to be so toxic, that people can not swim in the streams and rivers anymore….and the trout populations have diminished almost entirely.**** As far as trout go," the bugs drive the bus”….no bugs no food for trout. (And as I mentioned above, 1080 was originally developed as an insecticide.) NZ was once known as the Brown Trout Paradise. For any avid angler that fishes for Brown Trout..it was the mecca….But it has been destroyed. Besides the push for more dairies, more pollution with effluent and an over use of pesticides and fertilisers has contributed to the degradation of NZs waters.
We were fishing on the Waikaia River in the Southland (South Island) and had planes flying over us that were spreading chemicals. We saw helicopters along the banks cleaning out their tanks of toxic chemicals. A photo I took on the Waikaia R. below shows the cyanobacteria (blue-green algae)
Thus my dismay when I see all these praises for a PM (Jacinda) that allows her country to be poisoned…all in the name of GREED. Follow the money. Sound familiar?…The Minister of Primary Industries has a 50% share in the company that manufactures the 1080 pellets, Orillion…the other 50% is owned by the Minister of Finance. The greed to produce more and more milk, lamb, venison, etc for a growing Chinese market has mesmerised this country into overlooking the environment……polluting the country to levels that are destroying it….."The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself."
Franklin D. Roosevelt 1943
In summary, one would think that a poison being used for over 60 years would have worked by now. It doesn’t work. I would think that science has come along way since 1080 was introduced. NZ has destroyed their ecosystem. I don’t think it will ever heal in my lifetime. We will never go back….and pay to be poisoned. Jacinda Ardern is allowing this to happen. People need to know the truth before their “knee-jerk” adulations for Jacinda as to being so wonderful.
For the love of Nature and all it’s creatures ….I appeal to you for this truth to be known……please, these wonderful people in NZ are trying to get some help in stopping this atrocity…..and for all these beautiful innocent creatures that have died such a horrific death……..
*** New Zealand Continues to Have Major Animal Welfare Issues
Dr. Marc Bekoff
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Colorado
Accusations of "Invasive Species Denialism" Are Flawed
Why Is It Wrong to Not Want to Kill Animals?
What if New Zealand's War on Wildlife Included Primates?
The "It's OK to Kill Animals Humanely" Apology Doesn't Work
New Zealand Kids Get Into Killing Animals and Love Doing It
Killing Animals Is "Weirdly Addictive" Says New Zealander
It's a Ghastly Time to Be a Bunny in New Zealand
Teaching New Zealand Kids to Kill Animals Is Very Worrisome
Youngsters Encouraged to Kill Possum Joeys in New Zealand
New Zealand Kids Kill Possums for Fun and Games
Long-Term Effects of Violence Toward Animals by Youngsters
Violence Toward Animals: "Can You Please Help My Daughter?"
Does Everybody Really Hate Possums? The Bandwagon Effect
New Zealand’s “Possum Stomp” vs. Compassionate Conservation, Individual Well-Being, and Ethics
“THE KILLING NATION - New Zealand's State-Sponsored Addiction to Poison 1080" by Reihana Robinson
"I’m not sure if this reflects the general low levels of investment in science in New Zealand or that there is a reticence by governments to support research into emerging environmental problems for fear that our reputation as ‘clean-green’ country will be tarnished.” said Dr. Schallenberg.
https://www.scimex.org/newsfeed/south-nz-lakes-clogged-with-algal-snot FILMS AND FILM CLIPS :
THE GRAF BOYS - TVWild:
Poisoning Paradise festival version -https://youtu.be/AQ9ZOquYmfI
( Full length film - has won four International Film Festival awards - has never been shown on NZ Television )
1080 Poisoned Trout Risk Greater Than First Declared Says Researcher - https://youtu.be/vEUquwYuYTM
Coromandel Water Supplies https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbAeUa5ueRg&feature=youtu.be
Crown vs Graeme Sturgeon - Charges dropped - https://youtu.be/S7_xZ4r49p4
Deer Mass-poisoned in New Zealand - https://youtu.be/4PxMkDMdis0
Hungry Bees 1080 Poison Threat to New Zealand Honey Says DoC - https://youtu.be/PQVj1mcBEPw
Kea Killed in 1080 Poison Drops https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3Y0tmZTKpE
Rescue Helicopters used to Poison Deer - Tourists Speak Out - Mt Aspiring National Park https://youtu.be/-rWpA_nVOwE
49 Dead Kiwi at Mt Bruce -https://youtu.be/yGTVaTATbOg
Department of Conservation - Kiwi Thriving Without Poisons - https://youtu.be/QBPj6LkKizM
The 1080-Poisoned Putaruru Family Story :
1 ) Wild Boar Botulism Poisoned Family - Interview With Family Spokesperson - https://youtu.be/cjMCSjs8ICw
2 ) Waikato DHB feeds public porkies on poisoned wild pork test results - https://youtu.be/ZZ2GLnI_uzs
3) Waikato DHB admits not botulism - ACC clear to assist poisoned family - https://youtu.be/rHNTTXG7k8M
4 ) DHB Cover-up - Politics ahead of patient welfare for wild boar poisoned family - https://youtu.be/j6i4pZ5RYI4
District Health Boards Respond to 1080-Poisoned Families Concerns - https://youtu.be/TMSqAp2ET54
NZ First Exposes TB Fraud? -https://youtu.be/vtVOUU9EX0M
Deer Mass-poisoned - Taupo Farmer Speaks Out -https://youtu.be/CKBHIop0riw
1080 Poison dropped Directly into Auckland Water Supplies - https://youtu.be/YKB1q5JDNvY
Coromandel Water Supplies Poisoned - https://youtu.be/ QbAeUa5ueRg
Photo Essay - 1080 Poison Use in New Zealand -https://youtu.be/oT7J98cuQXc
Is Deer Repellent Effective? -https://youtu.be/KwiDbs46K7Q
Operation Nest Egg - Accelerating Kiwi Demise? -https://youtu.be/1gR674m7a00
Department of Conservation Targets Rats -https://youtu.be/ZMvdXlFSbRY
Trout Mass-poisoned in New Zealand -https://youtu.be/0Uf2wBprSw0
Mt Pirongia Poison Drop Breaches Manufacturers' Label -https://youtu.be/rkgyXF56Uvo
1080 Poison Safe in Water - EPA -https://youtu.be/J4pe-Ma4L-o
1080 Poison Cover-ups - Farmers Speak Out -https://youtu.be/K7vtWj_5Utg
1080 Poison Dropped Directly Into Auckland's Water Supply
Cattle Die After 1080 Drop in Waikato -https://youtu..be/7ub9fRFk8iA
Taihape Deer Mass-poisoned - Farmer Speaks Out -https://youtu.be/u7RFiz4lShA
New Zealand Rivers - the Fight to Keep them Poison-free -https://youtu.be/nKL7KllorWw
Poisoning Stewart Island - Is it Ecocide? -https://youtu.be/zDxxaM2TkuM
Is it Okay to Kill Deer Like This New Zealand? -https://youtu.be/qHmSxkIJ1-o
Water - Scientist Mike Mead
Dr. Peter Scanlon and Dr. Sean Weaver - Low dose 1080 Poisoning
1080 Poison is Safe to Eat, Says Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of NZ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dl77J3n4TjQ
Do Animals Deserve to Die Like This ? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIuUu0Xe8rY
What is 1080 Poison ? - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqaxTXuNZQw
NZ First Exposes TB Fraud
UK Time-lapse Decomposition Vs Poisoned Animals from NZ
Poisoning Paradise -https://youtu...be/yQRuOj96CRs
A Shadow of Doubt (First documentary - 2007) - https://youtu.be/Z1dhCA0fh4w
DoC Scientist Admits That 1080 Poison Causes Rat Plagues http://www.easywebvideo.com/94d6e95f
The Whitianga Story - ANONYMOUS - NZ Police / D.O.C Corruption Cover Up 15/12/2017
Ian Paice - drummer with ‘Deep Purple’ - on 1080 Poison
Jack Patchet Experiences the Effects After a 1080 Drop
Lara Cammock - 1080 : To Drop or Not To Drop
( Lara Cammock from Nelson Girls College won Best Documentary Editing at the Briefs Film Festival with this video ).
Deer dying of Poison - filmed by Tony Barrell
"The Keeper" by Will Millar ( End song on Graf Boys film "Poisoning Paradise" ) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Smp2TdbOPaI
"Enufisenuf" performed by Tika https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPzqJ0I8OAg#t=43
"1080, Oh Baby !" by Harmony-Aquarian Rand Aubrey Colgan https://soundcloud.com/harmony-aquarian/1080-oh-baby-1
"DoC Agents" by John Veysey and Nathan McCawley
"Y1080 - Ban 1080 Poison" by Steve Haenga Taylor https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBPPEcZMMgs
Whitianga March Against 1080 - 2017 Song Ash Grunwald “ River”
“Poison the Well” by https://soundcloud.com/ninjaskilla/poison-the-well
'THE THIRD WAVE - POISONING THE LAND' by W.F.Benfield (Bill Benfield ) http://trosspublishing.co.nz/publication/the-third-wave-poisoning-the-land
'AT WAR WITH NATURE - CORPORATE CONSERVATION AND THE INDUSTRY OF EXTINCTION' by W.F.Benfield ( Bill Benfield ) http://trosspublishing.co.nz/publication/at-war-with-nature
'SCENIC DREAM OR SILENT NIGHTMARE ?' by Kate Winters firstname.lastname@example.org
“SLAUGHTER THE ANIMALS, POISON THE EARTH” by Jack Olsen
Out of print but still available from www.amazon.com, this book was published in the USA in 1971. It was to 1080 poison what Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” was to DDT. The use of 1080 was banned in the USA the following year, 1972. ( It’s use was re-allowed in 1985 in some States in a limited way - contained in livestock protection collars or LPC’s.)
“THE QUIET FOREST “ by Fiona McQueen
“THE KILLING NATION - New Zealand's State-Sponsored Addiction to Poison 1080" by Reihana Robinson
Environmental activist and researcher Reihana Robinson explodes the carefully cultivated myth of New Zealand as the “Clean and Green” paradise of the South Pacific. While her country’s government and tourism industry promote images of exotic native bush, rare avian species, clean running streams, and untainted farms, Robinson lays bare New Zealand’s “Dirty Little Environmental Secret” – the wholesale poisoning of the landscape with one of the world’s deadliest poisons to combat pest species, all in the name of “conservation”. New Zealand stands alone in the world for its widespread and growing use of the supertoxin “1080”, spread by helicopter over hundreds of thousands of hectares of conservation land, rolling hills, and even into waterways and drinking water catchments. The toxin, made in batches at a small factory in backwoods Alabama USA and shipped to far-off Kiwiland, deals a grisly death to all oxygen-breathing species – among them countless birds, deer, mice, frogs, eels, and invertebrates of all description. While failing to achieve proven conservation gains, New Zealand’s poison-industrial complex taints more and more of the country’s pristine natural wealth with each passing year. Robinson recounts the surprising history of her country’s unusual and failing attempt to poison its way to a clean environment, and with classic investigative reporting and research, exposes the conflicts and professional intrigue that keep the poison flowing. Robinson chronicles the fightback by environmentalists, animal welfare advocates, and growing numbers in the scientific community against the increasing use of the poison in what has become an unhealthy growth industry protected by the New Zealand government. Her expose is a must-read for every student of environmental science – and an important introduction to “the real New Zealand” for tourists and international travelers expecting just the opposite.*****************************************************
Environmental Collapse Under A Cocktail Of Chemicals?
by Tony Orman
Around Marlborough there’s some disturbing signs of an ailing environment. Only a few years ago, I would frequently notice kingfishers sitting on fences and power lines. Today I see none.
In the garden, the native orange-backed lady birds that prey on aphids are now rarely seen. While frequenting river and stream banks while trout fishing I no longer hear or see frogs. As a teenager in the 1950s, frogs croaked by every stream or marshy hollow and catching tadpoles was a major pursuit for youngsters.
I recall evening starling flights of years ago. The spectacular whirling starling flights of yesteryear have gone, replaced by just a few individual birds. In trout rivers during the twilight,I recall dozens of juvenile eels in the shallows. Today they have gone. Evening mayfly hatches on the river are almost non-existent.There’s a world-wide decline in bee numbers including New Zealand.
Last summer fishing the upper Wairau River, when in other years there was the chirping of bush robins and the song of cicadas, there was silence. In the high country when hunting, a kill of a deer or pig was the prelude to dozens of buzzing blow-flies. Now there are just one or two.
Nearer home, moths in dozens no longer cluster around street lights or lighted house windows. There’s a big, big decline in insects banging into and being squashed on car windscreens in country areas. Are these apparent declines in numbers of wild creatures symptomatic of an ailing and declining ecosystem?
Is poisoning the land a greater threat to the environment than global warming was the question recently posed by the UK’s “Guardian” noted columnist George Monbiot.
Monibot, a 54 year old British writer and author well known for his “environmental and political activism” (Wikipedia) does not dismiss global warming. Indeed Monibot ranks it as vitally important but in 3rd place after commercial fishing and the impact of agrichemicals on the insect life of the planet.
“It is simply that I have come to realise that two other issues have such huge and immediate impact that they push this even great predicament into third place. One is industrial fishing -- now causing systemic collapse. The other is the erasure of non-human life from the land. The scale and speed of environmental collapse is beyond imagination,” added Monibot.
Just a week ago, a report said a new scientific study has found "dramatic" and "alarming" declines in insect populations in areas in Germany, which university researchers say could have far-reaching consequences for the world's crop production and natural ecosystems.
What of New Zealand? Are we dowsing an environment with a unprecedented mixture of chemicals? Household effluent contains bleaches and detergents that did not exist forty years ago. Are we dumping upon the environment via urban waste-water systems and widespread spraying of the country-side with agri-chemicals and insecticides and pesticides, a “cocktail of chemicals” of unprecedented volume and variety?
An indictment of the ignorant short-sighted lack of respect for the environment is that many urban areas still discharge sewage into waterways, either regularly or in high rainfall times.
Wairarapa conservationist Bill Benfield and author of two startling books “The Third Wave” and “At War with Nature”, says understandably farming practices have sought greater efficiencies and production. “Greater use has been made of agrichemicals, including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Among the insecticides is the DDT substitute diazinon which is aerially sprayed on the land for grass grub. Although banned in the EU, its use is un-restricted in New Zealand.”
Diazinon is “lethal to aquatic life.”
In May 2012 dead mallard ducks were found on a Landcorp farm at Cape Foulwind, West Coast, after 1500 hectares were sprayed with diazinon. An autopsy found the ducks to be poisoned by the organophosphate.
Then there is 1080. “Ecosystem poisons, such as the metabolic poison 1080 are aerially dropped on wilderness public lands” says Bill Benfield.
What’s the scientific verdict? Unfortunately the integrity of science has been undermined by a system of commissioned, paid science - in short money motivation he says. Some scientists have spoken out.
“The fury that descends on any scientist who steps out of line will ensure that their career and reputation will be in tatters. Few do,” says Bill Benfield.
George Monbiot in his recent column, described how in the distorted funding of science there is no end of money for finding out how to kill insects, but almost none for finding out the consequences.
In New Zealand, says Bill Benfield, eco-piety is expressed by riding a bicycle or driving hybrid cars, perhaps shopping at organic farmers markets yet the same people may campaign for even more chemical poisoning of “pests” and the fast disappearing invertebrates and bird life of the wilderness.
If Monbiot is correct, the cocktail of chemicals may also be in the long run, to the detriment of human survival.
Footnote: Tony Orman Orman is a Marlborough based free lance writer and advocate for conservation, i.e. “the wise use of resources.”
As far back as 2007.....this paper was written......i just posted a few "tidbits" from it......for the past 12 yrs since....the government of NZ is covering up the science......and has become the killing nation.....https://1080science.co.nz/1080-chemistry/.....This document was written by a Chemist and formed part of a submission to the Environmental Risk Management Authority in its Reassessment of 1080, in 2007.Conclusions:
The often quoted examples of the success of microbial de-fluorination studied in controlled laboratory conditions, cannot be extrapolated into the real New Zealand outdoor environment without further URGENT, CAREFULLY DIRECTED AND COSTLY RESEARCH AND TESTING. This needs to be acknowledged to the New Zealand Public.
THE USE OF 1080 SHOULD BE STOPPED UNTIL THIS IS DONE.
Methyl fluoride is a volatile fluoro-hydrocarbon which rots the ozone layer and contributes to the ozone hole! (Now – there is an emotive statement!)
11. What chemicals can manufactured 1080 break down into and how?The carbon-carbon bond in the sodium mono-fluoroacetate molecule is less stable (weaker) than the carbon-fluorine bond, and so over time and with hydration (adding H2O), sunlight can break the bond down, and the molecule can degrade into sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3-) and methyl fluoride (CH3F). This could happen if the molecules are lying for some time in surface water in sunlight. How likely is this to be the situation in a forest? If the molecules have entered streams or ground water, they are also unlikely to break down via sunlight.
The chemical equation for this possible break down, if it occurs, is:
CH2FCOONa + H20 → NaHCO3 + CH3F with all elements and their symbols accounted for.
Methyl fluoride is a volatile fluoro-hydrocarbon which rots the ozone layer and contributes to the ozone hole! (Now – there is an emotive statement!)
Sodium bicarbonate is a metal salt (common name baking soda). Metal salt is the general scientific term for a positively charged metal ion (Na+) joined to a negatively charged ion of an element, or a radicle (group of elements behaving like an element) – in this case the bicarbonate ion (HCO3-). It is this term (metal salt) which may have contributed to the ‘salt and vinegar’ story. 1
The salt and vinegar story.
Some claim that hydration (adding water, as in rain) spontaneously causes the dissociation of the fluorine and acetate part of the 1080 molecule. This in turn has led to the ‘myth’, often and recently repeated that it breaks down into harmless by-products, namely “salt and vinegar”. 1,2
Salt (or common table salt) is sodium chloride (NaCl). Vinegar (or acetic acid) is CH3COOH. Sodium monofluoroacetate cannot “break down” into salt and vinegar. It does not contain the element Chlorine (Cl) so cannot form table salt. Vinegar is not a product of the degradation of sodium monofluoroacetate.
Figure 1 shows the structure of an acetate ion. 3 Adding one hydrogen atom to it could indeed produce CH3COOH (acetic acid or vinegar). However, water (H2O), has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen one. What happens to the other hydrogen atom and the oxygen one? You cannot rip off part of a molecule unless all components of both chemicals (acetate ion and water) have been accounted for.
This is impossible anyway, because the acetate ion is not the negative ion present in 1080. It is the monofluoroacetate ion which is present. Simply adding H2O to monofluoroacetate (CH2FCOO-) does not happen, and if it could, it cannot produce vinegar. There simply is not the right number of atoms present.
When water is added to sodium monofluoroacetate it “dissolves” but does not lose its integrity. It is diluted as the molecules are spread out in water, but the molecules remain as sodium monofluoroacetate molecules
Conclusion: The information given to the public, about the break down of 1080 into harmless products is incomplete and incorrect. This needs to be acknowledged by the agency responsible, namely Forest and Bird. The possible breakdown products when the C-C bond is broken in sunlight, over time and in solution, are sodium bicarbonate and methyl fluoride.
Conclusion: There has been ambiguity in the use of the statement that manufactured 1080 is the same chemical as a naturally occurring compound, which has misled the public. This needs to be acknowledged to the public.
Conclusion: The products of de-fluorination could be initially in the upper layers of the soil or in the litter layers on the soil surface, imbibed by bacteria onto plant cellulose, and then in the plants or algae in streams and rivers. This needs to be researched further.
FURTHER ARTICLES CONDEMNING 1080 AND THE COURSE OF THE NZ GOVERNMENT
THE MADNESS OF "PREDATOR FREE NZ" AND DoC'S 1080 POISON CAMPAIGN - THIS EXCELLENT ARTICLE WAS REFUSED PUBLICATION
A long but worthwhile read. Dave Witherow was a Fish and Game councillor for many years with the Otago Fish and Game Council, and also for a time on the National F & G Council. He was also a contributor to Fish and Game magazine and had a regular column in it - " Streamside".
Dave has sent me the following comment to go with his article " Brave New World":
"This article was written for Fish and Game Magazine in 2017. It was refused publication on account of Fish and Game's permanent reluctance to offend DOC, and its own confused position on 1080." DW, 20 March, 2019
"BRAVE NEW WORLD
Many years ago, on a hunting trip at Mason Bay on Stewart Island, I had an encounter with galaxids. I was cleaning the billies in a pool in the creek at the northern end of the beach, beside the old driftwood bivvy, and there were a few peas on the bottom of the pool when I was finished. I went back through the dunes to the bivvy, and a few minutes later, when I returned to get some water, there were these curious little fish swimming around the pool. They were galaxids - not the legendary giant ones, which are rumoured to have reached nearly a pound in weight (although, like most fisher’s tales, that’s probably an exaggeration). These were much smaller - about the size of an average cigar. They were eating the peas, scooping them up from the bottom one by one, and when the peas were finished they buggered off and never came back, even though I baited the pool with fresh peas for days. Maybe the peas disagreed with them, but anyway I never saw another one, and apart from numerous feeds of whitebait, that’s my total experience with galaxids.
I was reminded of this a few days ago while listening to a young woman from the Department of Conservation explain on the radio what a terrible menace trout were in New Zealand’s rivers. Trout were predators, she said, invaders, colonists, and they were ruthlessly wiping out the vulnerable, trusting native species, including the galaxids. These trout, she said, were irredeemable villains, and ought to be exterminated. (And would, in fact, have been exterminated ages ago, were it not for the uproar it would cause from benighted anglers).
And it’s not just the trout that are causing grief. There’s the ducks - the wily mallard especially. This evil creature, as all right-thinking people are well aware, is flying around quite unhindered and inseminating the innocent unsuspecting native ducks and contaminating the pure waters of the native gene pool to the disgraceful extent that nowadays its hard to find a genuine native anywhere. (The mallards, needless to say, would have been exterminated long ago were it not for the uproar it would cause from benighted hunters).
It gets worse. Think of the deer, the tahr, the chamois - horrible and unprincipled creatures whose one and only purpose in life is to eat defenseless native plants and loosen the soil and bring whole native mountainsides crashing down into threatened native rivers.
And then there are the smaller vermin: stoats and weasels - bloodthirsty little menaces, massacring the indigenous birdlife and raising families all up and down the country. There are plagues of mice when the beech-seed falls, followed by rats and ferrets and tabby-cats run wild. It’s bedlam out there in the forest.
And it’s not much better anywhere else. Thistles and brambles have taken over the farmland. There’s ragweed, gorse, Old-Mans-Beard in the shrubbery and hieracium higher up. The whole place is a seething battleground and everywhere the natives are losing. Your own back garden is no exception. Not a kiwi or weka to be seen - not a kokako or takahe. These wholesome and lovely creatures are gone, but there are blackbirds singing everywhere. Thrushes tuning up in the morning light, sparrows nesting in the eaves. Aliens and enemies, the length and breadth of the land.
It is a total disgrace, that’s what it is. But don’t worry, because at long last, DOC is doing something about it. Before many more years have passed, if all goes well, these sore-pressed islands will be restored to their original pristine glory. The song of the huia will be heard again. The cat will be dead, the rat likewise, and the possum will be history.
In contemplating the current devastation it is sobering to remember that the extermination of our native fauna and flora was no-one’s fault but our own. We imported every one of these loathsome aliens. And even now there are people like Fish and Game - backed by its legion of bloodthirsty loons - who refuse to acknowledge their criminal role in this tragic story. But these delinquents have no credibility. Like the dinosaurs their day is over.
The challenge could hardly be simpler. Every alien must be destroyed, down to the very last rodent. Improved weapons will make this possible - although these weapons, it is true, have not yet been invented. But genetic science knows no bounds, and one day soon the average West Coast stoat will be a sterile runt, riddled with lethal mutations. Our infested streams will be cleared of trout, and long-dead native species - reconstituted from fossil DNA - will eventually replace the invaders.
The battle has begun in earnest. Old strategies have been discarded, and DOC - long-distracted by tedious procedures in the Environment Courts - has abandoned such frivolities to concentrate on its new vision of a gleaming future via a nationwide blitz of poison. Already the Department has a stockpile sufficient to kill every inhabitant of this country and Australia combined. But this is just the beginning. No corner of New Zealand will be neglected. A new dawn beckons at last.
Let us begin with very simple things. Trout have not exterminated galaxids. There are still plenty of galaxids in our streams - millions of them in the case of whitebait - and the main problems they face have nothing to do with predation by trout. Galaxids are just one genus among a myriad of aquatic organisms that need clean fresh water to survive - water that is disappearing at a record rate, for reasons that are now front page news in our daily papers. And DOC, for all its feigned concern about native fish, is doing practically nothing about this.
As an agency of conservation DOC has become almost irrelevant. It has been gelded, intimidated, starved of money. Its priorities now are cultivating the tourist industry, and sucking up to the government of the day. Water is too hot an issue.
Many people, of course, are
deeply concerned about what is happening to water. Protest is loud and
frequent, but in the absence of DOC there is only one organisation -
Fish and Game - that has the determination and resources to do anything
effective about it. Trout-anglers are conservationists - they have to
be, or their sport would vanish. One hundred thousand of them buy
licences every year, and it is they, not
DOC, who are battling for the rivers that belong to us all.
Few among the media or general public understand this paradoxical situation, but if the destruction of our rivers is ever to be stopped - if they are ever to be swimmable again - it will largely depend on the presence of trout, not galaxids.
George Orwell understood this kind of thing, which he lampooned in his novel: “Animal Farm”. Divide the world into good and bad, make distinctions, valid or not, and it is very easy to demonise anything you care to pick upon. And the current popular mantra that “native is good and exotic is bad” fits the Orwell thesis exactly. There is the same stubborn rejection of the world as it is, and the same fixation on some
mythical future when all will be restored to an imagined state of perfection. The DOC spokeswoman with her delusions about trout was merely affirming her Department’s current doctrine - and she can get away with it because the unfortunate fact is that the average citizen doesn’t know a galaxid from a galaxy - unless he or she happens to be a whitebaiter. Knowledge of nature is rare these days, so nonsense like this is widely accepted, and by the industrious promotion of similar fables a whole expanding empire of pure bullshit is foisted upon the public.
DOC, as a government department, has no true independence. The pursuit
of economic growth is now endorsed by every administration and political
party. But more growth means less nature, however you try to disguise
it, and until this unwelcome truth is recognised the task of
conservation must be confrontational, uncertain, and beset with
inevitable risks to the employees of government departments.
When reality becomes too difficult we are apt to take refuge in fantasy. Why engage in interminable battles? Why hazard one’s job, promotion, and peace of mind, when, by a subtle sideways shift of ground one might escape the dilemma altogether? The temptation is almost irresistible, and DOC, in its embrace of mass poisoning - its huge and delusional “Battle for the Birds” - has yielded. One day, the Department’s experts assure us, the forests will be restored to abundant life. A great deluge of poison will float from the sky and cleanse the land, and the dawn chorus will be heard anew.
Books could be written about this (and have been), so I shall not go over the propaganda, lies, fake science, more lies, blind faith, cowardice, and love of easy money that underpin the biggest environmental disaster in New Zealand’s modern history. The 1080 campaign is an abrogation of biological sanity. It is based on assumptions of omniscience and a tsunami of wishful thinking. It assumes that a deadly toxin - capable of killing everything - can be safely sprayed over an entire country, and it ignores all evidence except for convenient aberrations.
One might have thought that the DOC’s commitment to the Battle for the Birds was as far as self-deception could go. That even a compliant bureaucracy could retreat from rationality no further. One might have hoped, even, that a long-established government department could not entirely go off the rails. But dementia seems to breed further dementia, in a synergistic and ever-steepening death dive from which there is no hope of recovery.
The Battle for the Birds - always no more than a money-fueled smokescreen for impotence - is failing. Keas are dying mysteriously. Rock-wrens are disappearing, along with fernbirds, robins, and other native species. Even the penguins are carking in somewhat puzzling numbers, and the wider ecological impacts remain completely unknown.
Would a rethink on this suicidal strategy, then, possibly be in order? But no, not at all. The Department, now gambling on miracles, has decided to go for broke. There will be no retreat. There will, instead, be an escalation, a titanic advance, an eyes-tight messianic leap into the most stupendous fantasy of all: Predator-Free New Zealand!
It is the first of January, 2055. A fine and typically muggy morning in mid-century Aotearoa. The temperature is hovering on 34, and may reach 40 by noontime, unless the monsoon breaks. But never mind, the bananas are ripening nicely, and down by the shore, beyond the broad acres of multinational sugar-cane, the last eroding tower-blocks of old Tauranga stand stark among the shrimp-farms. A wind-turbine whispers above the sewage-ponds, and from a grove of coconut palms across the road waft the melodious notes of a reconstituted Huia. There is a disturbance in the languid air, a harsh cry, and a mighty Haast’s Eagle sweeps down the beach, a hogget grasped in her talons.
It is an idyllic scene. Far above, invisible, the tropical Frigate Birds orbit, and from her sanctuary beneath the swaying leaves an ancient DOC scientist reflects upon her achievements. The last rat was poisoned a decade ago, and the last stoat shortly after. The trout are gone. The possums are gone, and even the mice, down to the very last one. The cats in the end were easy, and it was truly touching to see the owners of two million pussies so patriotically deliver them to the abattoir. Dry eyes, that day, were few.
The future is an unknown country. New Zealand will be a very different place thirty years from now, but not as DOC imagines. There will be more people and less nature. There will be new plagues and pests, and our ability to contain them is as improbable as our competence to recreate a New Zealand now gone forever. Few predictions may be reliably made, but of one thing we may be certain: there will never be a predator-free New Zealand.
DOC’s own record is proof of this. 1080 has been going
since 1954, and other poisons for much longer. But the possums and
stoats are still doing well, along with the rest of the gang. Rats, it
pays to remember, are the most successful mammals on Earth. They live
happily on ships, so you can never permanently get rid of them. DOC
knows this, or ought to,
from its own experiences on three remote islands in Fiordland. The last rat is captured every now and again - until another rat swims ashore.
It is marginally possible, with permanent effort and expense, to keep small islands predator-free. They can be sustained as sanctuaries if their re-infestation by rats and stoats is controlled ad infinitum. But what can be made to work on a small island is entirely impossible on a landmass the size of New Zealand, with its vast and varied environments and numerous cities and towns inhabited by the full range of mammalian predators.
The extermination campaign will never work, but it has several immediate advantages, not only for DOC, but for the politicians as well. DOC has devoted years of effort to promoting the mythic superiority of indigenous plants and animals, and this campaign has been remarkably successful. All it takes, as Dr. Goebbels knew, is to keep repeating the message. Galaxids are good and trout are evil. The Grey duck is a noble thing: the Mallard is a bastard. And once you have the innocent citizenry fully-primed it is time to wheel out the helicopters, the indoctrinated staff, the truckloads of 1080.
If the goal of bureaucracy is to pass the buck, DOC is a brilliant example. The public has been successfully mislead, topped up with happy fictions, and, most cunning of all, the pay-off date is safely in the distant future. Nobody in DOC will still be in DOC by 2050. And nobody in the government will still be in government. It is, as DOC’s lawyers like to say, a win-win situation.
Meanwhile, out in the forest, the Keas will keep on dying, along with millions of other creatures, great and small: mammals, reptiles, and tiny invertebrates. Thus we blunder, poisoning the earth, puffed up in our puny arrogance. It is infinitely sad and endlessly stupid.
Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad."
Dave Witherow. 2017.
Bill Johnson’s daughter, Catherine, has written to this page on her father’s behalf. She says her father, a lifelong outdoorsman and opponent of 1080, asked her to share his last letter to their local newspaper on the social media channels. Please share this post for Bill who writes:
“I am now 80 years old and this will be my last letter to the Grey Star. During my life I have been a hunter, trapper and conservationist and have spent many thousands of hours under the canopy of Westland’s native forests. I have learnt that the 1080 industry is not about saving our bird life from predation from rats, stoats weasels and possums but about putting money in the right pockets. Let us have a close look at some of the organisations who have, like leeches fallen off the trees and landed smack bang in the middle of the lucrative 1080 industry. It started in Westland by the New Zealand Forest Service, supposedly to stop possum’s from destroying Rata trees. 1080 was then taken over by the Department of Conservation  who organised a poster that was purposely designed to win over the New Zealand public. This poster featured a possum and a rat up a tree devouring young thrushes from the nest. The hunters and trappers in New Zealand immediately had a good laugh because to the trained eye the poster is a blatant fraud. Our laughter turned to disbelief as about three million New Zealanders swallowed the obviously fraud poster, hook line and sinker. This was exactly what the pro 1080 spin doctors had hoped would happen. On the back of the sudden public support, The Battle for our Birds organisation was formed. Followed by the Predator Free New Zealand organisation. Operation Crimson was already out there gobbling up public money. All of a sudden, the whole conservation movement went ‘feral’ with splinter groups forming all over NZ. To name a few: Operation nest egg, The Next Foundation, Orillion. [Orillion was previously Animal Control Products aka Whanganui Poison Factory, a state-owned enterprise and originally started by Govt in 1953 with first aerial 1080 use in NZ]
Let us not forget Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP). ZIP has had many articles in the Grey Star in recent months. ZIP in my opinion is exactly the type of ‘human predator’ that this country could well do without. ZIP’s chief executive tells that his organisation has no problems with finance. It would be interesting to find out what salary this man is collecting. I would guess that a figure of two million dollars would be close to the mark. This money being donations from a gullible NZ public.
The 1080 industry on our West Coast has been a filthy industry since it first started in September 1959 right up to March the second 2019. With lies and deceit the norm from the pro 1080 people. The following are a few facts to educate ZIP on the ways of possums and the truth about Rata dieback
Last Autumn one of ZIP's 18 Possums who were fitted with radio tracking devises disappeared into the tussock above the scrub level in the Perth river valley. ZIP claims that this possum would have wintered over in amongst the rocks under the snow for the winter. Sorry ZIP but experienced hunters and trappers know that West Coast possums in high upper river valleys like the Perth sometimes climb right up the to the top of the ranges in the Autumn and descend down the other side to their nice warm winter-feeding grounds. ZIP’s wayward possum will very likely be almost ready to once again return to its winter-feeding grounds and may be still there when the ZIP 1080 application finally takes place. No doubt ZIP will once again arrive at an impossible 100% or so kill rate for the Perth’s operation while there 18 radio tagged possums contently munch away, miles away from the drop zone.
tell us that possum are eating rata trees to the point of extinction.
Tut, Tut, ZIP you have been reading the Operation Crimson’s glossy
propaganda pamphlet. It is well-known that possum do very little harm to
healthy rata trees. In fact, Rata foliage is not palatable to possum
until the tree reaches the old age die back stage of its life. This is
why the old age dying tree’s trunk is covered with scratches from possum
claws, while the healthy young rata tree 40 metres or so away show no
sign of possum scratches or foliage damage. An interesting thing is that
the scale insects hit the dying rata at the same time as the possum.
There is no way that DOC are going to advertise this fact. Why kill the
goose that lays the golden egg? To me, doubling the toxic loading of
1080 pellets [and the kg per HA/double-dropping] is nothing but lunacy.
North Island studies by Landcare Research and the Animal Health Board
[MPI’s OSPRI and TBFree arm] show the following results.
Trial area A (standard toxic loading) Results: Possums survival rate 43%
Trial area B (double toxic loading) Results: Possum survival rate 43%.
So much for ZIP’S double toxic loading tests. The supposition that Tahr carcasses will keep kea from eating 1080 baits is nothing but a load of codswallop. Who is going to skin all these Tahr so that kea can get to the flesh? Kea will die of 1080 poisoning this winter. Why? The answer must be - To put more of the public’s money in the right pockets. That is why. 1080 is doing untold damage to our fragile environment and needs to be stopped right now. Wake up New Zealand you are being robbed by experts.
(Bill Johnson, April 2019)