Compensation for Tourism Operators and Pregnant Women by Animal Health Board

Submitted by Paul Murray on Sat, 12/07/2008 - 8:49am

KAKA Press Release:

AHB Should Compensate People Adversely Affected by its Activities

The Animal Health Board (AHB) has rejected compensation claims filed in June by West Coast tourism business owners in Karamea and Granity for business interruption and restriction to trade resulting from the AHB aerial 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) operation. The AHB has also refused to pay compensation to pregnant women who were advised to leave the Karamea district for the duration of the 1080 operation to cover their accommodation and travel expenses.

The AHB claim that they are legally unable to offer compensation to businesses or individuals affected by the 1080 programme with one exception--cattle slaughtered because they are Tb positive or cannot be moved as a result of livestock movement restrictions.

New Zealand is marketed internationally as “Clean Green/100%Pure” holiday destination and the West Coast is promoted on the same basis. Each tourism operator has spent considerable time, money and effort to promote their respective businesses by advertising their facilities, services and regions as environmentally clean, green, pure, pristine, safe, natural, scenic and beautiful. The tourism operators want to ensure the regions they are promoting remain beautiful, unspoilt and clean for visitors to enjoy. The West Coast is one of the most beautiful regions of New Zealand and it should be maintained accordingly so that future generations of New Zealanders can enjoy what the Coast has to offer.

The tourism business owners feel it is improper and even fraudulent to encourage visitors to Karamea and Granity following the 1080 drop given that every tourist attraction in the region will be poisoned by the AHB aerial 1080 programme and the bush walks, scenic spots and tourist attractions and will be blighted with skull and crossbones “Warning 1080 Poison” signs.

1080 Poison Signs on Heaphy Track1080 Poison Signs on Heaphy Track
1080 Poison Signs on Heaphy Track

It is understandable that pregnant women have serious concerns about the potential for 1080 to damage foetuses and the potential effects of the poison on male and female fertility.

The AHB routinely claims that 1080 is relatively harmless if used properly. Also, last week the AHB Communications Manager Nick Hancox said, “Human health is not the domain of the Animal Health Board.” Finally, the AHB claims that the 1080 operation does not decimate native birdlife, or contaminate the soil, water and air.

Tourism operators, many dairy farmers and other residents living in the 1080-drop zones vehemently disagree with the AHB, as 1080 is a class A toxin as classified by the World Health Organisation. It is deadly to all living things, including birds, insects, invertebrates and aquatic animals. It also pollutes waterways and can persist in the soil. Also, the manner in which 1080 is used and applied by the AHB directly contradicts the instructions given by the manufacturers of the poison and the recommendations of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Residents are also concerned about the human health implications of the broad scale; indiscriminate use of 1080 and this is also of concern to the tourism operators who are responsible for the safety of their guests.

The AHB's 1080 programme has a real and significant negative impact on the local tourism industry while putting New Zealand’s Clean/Green/100%Pure international brand in jeopardy. Their activities conflict directly with the efforts of the tourism operators, disrupt communities and creating considerable anxieties among people living in the drop zones.

The AHB programme should not interfere with businesses activity, the unique West Coast environment (a major international tourist draw card), or risk the health of Coasters. If the AHB is not prepared to take responsibility for disrupting the lives and livelihoods of people affected by their activities by compensating them, they should immediately cease all 1080 operations and genuinely implement the viable alternative solutions that are currently available.

KAKA will continue to represent people in the Karamea and other West Coast regions who are concerned about the impact of the AHB and the Department of Conservation's 1080 programmes.

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