Karamea 1080-Drop Proceeds Despite Community Concerns and Outrage

Submitted by Paul Murray on Thu, 24/07/2008 - 9:27pm

To: The people of New Zealand and visitors to our land.

From: Karameans Advocating Kahurangi Action (KAKA) – A community group of Karamea residents established late last year to address the concerns of local people about the indiscriminate broad-scale use of sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) in our region and along the West Coast.

KAKA would like to thank everyone who supported its campaign to stop the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Animal Health Board (AHB)-sponsored 1080 drop in the Karamea region. Unfortunately, we have not been able to stop this drop and the operation will proceed today despite the best efforts of KAKA members and supporters, including those from other areas of the West Coast and elsewhere New Zealand.

Despite this disappointing set-back, KAKA will continue working to protect the beautiful Karamea region for the people living here and for visitors to the region. We will continue to work towards ensuring that the indiscriminate broad-scale use of 1080 is abandoned in favour of alternative possum and Tb control measures. Measures that are environmentally conscious, humane, pest-specific, economically viable and effective and solutions that are genuinely Clean/Green and 100%Pure.

KAKA appreciates that there are many frustrated, annoyed, anxious and even frightened people in our community, many of whom are literally appalled by the current 1080 operation. They are justifiably concerned for their health, the destruction of our beautiful environment, the impact on birds and other creatures in the ecosystems and the negative ramifications for our local tourism industry. KAKA is itself appalled that the 1080-drop is proceeding with blatant disregard for such important concerns and for the people living here.

KAKA has done everything it could to avert this catastrophe. Now that we have lost this immediate battle, we believe that the AHB’s operation should be allowed to proceed safely and without interruption. However, KAKA does have organised ground monitoring teams in place to ensure pest-control contractor EPRO Ltd conducts the operation to the letter of the law. If any breaches are identified, KAKA will be demanding the West Coast Regional Council (WCRC) prosecutes the company and, if the breaches are serious enough, will also approach the appropriate regulatory authorities to insist EPRO’s operating licenses be withdrawn.

In the past nine months, KAKA has learnt much about the process and people behind 1080 operations. It has also developed a good understanding of bovine Tb and the threat the disease poses to the dairy industry. We also now have a wealth of material about the impact the poison has on the environment–birdlife, water systems, insects, invertebrates, and aquatic life. We are also much more aware of the threat the indiscriminate use of 1080 poses to human health; and the disruption to communities and tourist businesses that 1080 aerial campaigns bring in their wake. Most importantly, perhaps, we now have an in-depth understanding of the role of our own local councils in 1080 aerial operations, the complex legal processes involved and the national political issues that surround the 1080 debate.

The knowledge we have gained will prove invaluable to us as we continue to work closely with like-minded groups and individuals across the Coast and New Zealand. We will now be focusing our ongoing efforts to achieve KAKA’s medium-to-long term objectives:

Medium Term Objectives:

  1. Prevent any future air-drops of poisons for pest control in our local region.
  2. Through dissemination of valid, reliable information improve community understanding of 1080 related issues.
  3. In concert with other stakeholders:
    • Identify and support effective alternative methods for pest and bovine tuberculosis control and/or eradication.
    • Ensure that bodies/agencies/individuals responsible for (or contributing to) pest-control activities are truly accountable (politically and legally) for their decisions and actions.
  4. Identify historical, current and projected expenditures (direct and indirect) by local bodies, boards, government agencies, etc on 1080 campaigns in the Karamea and wider West Coast area.
  5. Ensure annual levels of funding identified through Objective 4 above continue to be available to local stakeholders for the purposes of implementing alternative control methods and/or regional development.

Long-Term Objective:
To make a positive contribution towards a possible future Coast-wide (and potentially national) ban on the use of 1080.

KAKA now has 2 to 3 years, in which to hone and successfully implement our longer term strategies for ensuring that this insidious practice is never again allowed to disrupt our community, cause anxiety to our residents (particularly our pregnant women), poison our environment, threaten tourism businesses, decimate our birdlife, pollute our soil, water and air and destroy our resources. KAKA will continue to represent people who are justifiably concerned about the unbridled use of 1080 by the AHB, DOC and the activities of their pest-control contractors. While KAKA may have lost this battle, the war is just beginning...and we will win because we are RIGHT!

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