NZ, like many places globally, is slathered with hundreds of various poisons. No surprises that our insects are dying. Read Dr Meriel Watts’ book The Poisoning of New Zealand.Glyphosate is NZ’s fave. As also is the insecticide 1080, dumped annually over our environment by the tonne.
Insect populations are declining precipitously worldwide due to pesticide use and other factors, with a potentially “catastrophic” effect on the planet, a study has warned.
More than 40% of insect species could become extinct in the next few decades, according to the “Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers” report, published in the journal Biological Conservation.
Insect biomass is declining by a staggering 2.5% a year, a rate that indicates widespread extinctions within a century, the report found.
In addition to the 40% at risk of dying out, a third of species are endangered — numbers that could cause the collapse of the planet’s ecosystems with a devastating impact on life on Earth.
The report, co-authored by scientists from the universities of Sydney and Queensland and the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences, looked at dozens of existing reports on insect decline published over the past three decades, and examined the reasons behind the falling numbers to produce the alarming global picture.
Its lead author, Francisco Sanchez-Bayo, of the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Sydney, called the study the first truly global examination of the issue.
While the focus in the past has been on the decline in vertebrate animal biodiversity, this study stressed the importance of insect life on interconnected ecosystems and the food chain. Bugs make up around 70% of all animal species.
The repercussions of insect extinction would be “catastrophic to say the least,” according to the report, as insects have been at “the structural and functional base of many of the world’s ecosystems since their rise … almost 400 million years ago.”
Key causes of the decline included “habitat loss and conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanization,” pollution, particularly from pesticides and fertilizers, as well as biological factors, such as “pathogens and introduced species” and climate change.
While large numbers of specialist insects, which fill a specific ecological niche, and general insects were declining, a small group of adaptable insects were seeing their numbers rise — but nowhere near enough to arrest the decline, the report found.
Some of my regular readers & correspondents will be aware of my art work being exhibited recently … (having just completed my Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts degree at Putahi a Toi, Massey). For those who are interested I’m posting my work here on the site because it concerns 1080 poison.
(As good fortune would have it by the way, my two adult children, both artists in their own right, were also exhibiting at the same time in the Te Manawa Gallery in Palmerston North. The recent feature article from the Manawatu Standard will give you the background to their work also. We were all interviewed as a trio. Unfortunately my daughter’s work is now gone, some of hers is in the newspaper article).
The theme of my work is poison, in particular 1080 & arsenic, which encapsulates the ongoing issues we are facing today … well at least those of us who are concerned about the toxic chemicals that we are involuntarily immersed in daily. These two poisons interweave throughout our history, and are only two of 280-300 active pesticide ingredients registered for use in NZ (read Dr Meriel Watts’ The Poisoning of NZ, p19). The poisoning of our food, our water, our people. The arsenic episode began in the nineteenth century with what was known as the NZ Government’s ‘Sugar & Flour’ policy, where non-selling Māori were targeted with aid in the form of flour mills and other ‘goodies’ to entice them to sell their land. Subsequently the flour became poisoned (as has happened & is documented in other colonized nations) to the extent in the Upper Whanganui River there was a notable decrease in the Māori population. The poisoning was also discovered & documented by missionary Rev Richard Taylor in his journals. You can read about it in David Young’s Woven by Water. It is also of course in the oral histories of the River & was spoken about in the Treaty hearings. Tariana Turia (former politician, co-leader of the Māori Party) also wrote about this in the Taranaki Star at the passing of Sir Archie Taiaroa, from the River. Sir Archie had wanted the stories to be made known, saying that Māori were forced to rely on flora and fauna to avoid being poisoned. My great uncle from the Whanganui River died of suspected poisoning. What a damning episode to the record of a so called ‘Christian’ nation. Civilizing so called ‘savages’? It is very clear who were the savages. And so it goes on today with the systematic dropping into our environment, the deadly ecotoxin called 1080.
On this theme I created an assemblage, after the work of indigenous Australian artist Tony Albert, detailing the current poisoning of our waterways and food by the aerial 1080 program operating here in Aotearoa (NZ). In my research on that I have seen testimony of concerned Whanganui people subject to aerial drops who saw incidences of miscarriages & cancer immediately after one. Like the cancer clusters around the cell towers, the authorities of course deny all of this. Dr Peter Scanlon (late) detailed that there have been little if any studies on the effects of 1080 on the unborn. Remember the post about how two midwives advised their pregnant patients to leave town when they heard of an imminent 1080 drop? I would certainly be erring on the side of safety & leaving also were I in their position.
Returning to the assemblage it contains images I’ve used with the permission of the donor* featuring the 2018 hikoi with Emile Leaf & Alan Gurdon. The basic message is … ‘Kāti te paitini haere i ā tātou kai!’ … ‘stop poisoning our food!’ It also features the assimilation drive of the colonists who desired land & and an eventual absorption of Māori into the white race. Well documented if you search … Angela Ballara’s ‘Proud to be White’ is a good start. The newspaper archives she cites speak volumes. Wiping out an ethnic group is technically called genocide however that is well nigh a dirty word in many circles today.
Below is the final gallery version.
Description: Governor Grey’s 1840s policy of aid and education saw the provision of many flour mills in NZ including along the Whanganui River. Matahiwi’s Kawana mill was named after him. David Young records in Woven by Water (p 49-50) the rapid decline in population on the upper river and the alleged systematic poisoning of non-selling hapū there. The government policy therefore became known as the ‘sugar & flour policy’. Land alienation was further fast tracked via The Native Land Court, with depopulation of Māori occurring via land wars, the introduction of muskets and European diseases. Te reo Māori was banned in schools and the assimilation agenda continued into the twentieth century (the Hunn Report,1960).
There is another scripture under the visible one (second ‘page’) that quotes Isaiah 26:21, “See, the Lord is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the blood shed on it; the earth will conceal its slain no longer.
The image below is also part of the assemblage detailing what a former NZ Premier John Ballance had to say about Māori. He was called a ‘nation builder’.
The work below titled ‘Ekoruhe 20:13 | Exodus 20:13’ is an installation featuring three flour bags. I was told years ago by a kuia in our home town that the flour bags marked for poisoning had a red circle on them. I’ve taken artistic license to add red circles to the bag marked ‘paraoa’ (flour), although I am unsure how the red circle originally looked.
Description: “Kaua e patu” (do not kill), are words from the Bible, the book brought here by the missionaries. Governor Grey’s Flour and Sugar policy was said to be partly an attempt to reduce Māori ‘rebellion’ against land acquisitions, targeting areas where he hoped to acquire land. With the alleged poisoning of Māori, they were forced to use their knowledge of flora and fauna to avoid death. Used globally to this day, the destruction of indigenous food sources on colonial fronts is a time-worn tactic. Currently, another poison is being dropped into our waterways, contaminating both our water & our wild food.
The work below titled ‘E Paitini ana i te Whenua me te Wai | Poisoning the Land & the Water’ speaks for itself.
Description: For over 50 years, 1080 poison, a class 1A ecotoxin with no antidote, banned in most countries, has been dropped regularly onto NZ soil, currently at amounts of 4,000 tonnes per annum, enough to kill 60 million people. The Government recently changed legislation so that it can drop 1080 into the waterways without a resource consent, excluding the operation from Resource Management Act protection. A retired NZ Doctor recently warned that if you die from 1080 poisoning, nobody will know because Doctors are bullied by the MOH into not testing for it.
Below is the work titled E Paitini ana i ngā Manu| Poisoning the Birds. This also speaks for itself.
Description: It’s claimed by DoC that 1080, a class 1A ecotoxin targets pests, however, originally an insecticide, 1080 kills all oxygen breathing animals and organisms (Dr M Watts 2010). A 2002 Otago 1080 drop killed an estimated 10,000 non-target birds. Over 5 years, of 89 dead tagged kiwi in the Tongariro Forest, none were tested for 1080. In 1984 Brodifacoum exterminated Tawhitinui Island’s entire weka population.
The bird image is from a carved kōkako from Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui’s house, Huriwhenua, at Ranana on the Whanganui River. It’s speculated it may symbolize the raven sent forth from Noah’s ark (David Young, Woven by Water).
Finally is the work titled St Joseph’s Church & Convent at Hiruhārama. Hiruhārama is on the Whanganui River, home of the pictured Catholic mission presence and Sister Aubert.
Description: Patiarero on the Whanganui River was re named Hiruhārama (Jerusalem) by missionary Reverend Richard Taylor in the 1850s, as were many other Whanganui River settlements. In 1892, Suzanne Aubert (known as Mother Mary Joseph) established the congregation of the Sisters of Compassion, a charitable and religious order, where they cared for abandoned children. Their presence is still there today.
(Thanks to the Sisters of Compassion for permission to use their photograph).
Thanks also to Rere Tihema for the use of his protest images.
The exhibition will remain up until February so if you are in the Palmerston North area over the holiday break you can see it at Te Manawa.
I acknowledge especially my kaiako at Putahi a Toi Massey from whom I’ve learned so much. My learning is a journey that’s still in progress.
And finally, a correction regarding the Standard article. This is just a misunderstanding & was not intentional. I whakapapa to the River through my father’s side (see ‘about the author’ at the main menu) … I am unsure of our marae. It could well be Patiarero (going by my research) however the article reads as though we do come from there. Apologies.
Well I’m blown away. Herald has published a piece about alternatives to 1080. Just on the heels of my post on mainstream media. Either there’s progress on that front, or there’s more to their agenda than meets the eye. I would have to say I get a little suspicious when MS does a turn around. However… in the meanwhile, this is good news. It comes specifically from Hawke’s Bay Today & is a scathing commentary on a previous opinion piece about 1080.
*Norm Brown: There are alternatives to 1080 poison
In reply to Mark Story’s opinion piece that claimed 1080 angst is “unhinged and ill-informed”.
You call me unhinged because I argued with Ospri about aerial spreading 1080 over tracks and river edge in the Kawekas where we take students tramping and which is used frequently by tourists and New Zealand public.
You call me unhinged when I then find out a couple of weeks later that the MoH had actually told Ospri to ground treat the area concerned. That Ospri also told me that the area would be safe and just wash the students’ shoes is even more insulting.
To say I am ill-informed when I am working to the only official regulations available by law to me, the label and the chemical data sheet, is slander and fraudulent.
To say that other anti-1080 people are ill-informed is also slanderous and fraudulent.
You are saying that the label and the chemical data sheet are false science. Are you really saying that everyone should ignore chemical labels and data sheets or do you just wish to pick on 1080?
If you are saying that the regulations are fraudulent then I suggest that you very quickly get the Government to change the EPA personnel because you have just called them incompetent and mischievous.
To be 100 per cent truthful you should be saying that anti-1080 people believe in the regulations while the pro-1080 people such as Ospri have been given dispensation not to work to the regulations.
Even then the pro-1080 people are disobeying the few restrictions placed on them when given the dispensation. There are two rules governing 1080. This is the essence of the issue. This has been stated often.
So now it comes down to who is actually ill informed, the anti-1080 people or Ospri and commentators like yourself?
When Ospri forces non-compliant applications of 1080 on the populous with no due care of the results it is despicable.
It builds the fear, anger, frustration and a genuine need to protest. Your article ridicules those affected and only adds heat to this.
To tell anti-1080 people they are using false science, when they are working to the label and data sheets (the regulations), builds the anger to contempt and accusations of fraud and corruption.
Your opinion piece has just drawn all these on to you and your paper. Integrity would require your words to be withdrawn and an apology offered to all of New Zealand for helping expose them to this horrendous deadly poison that has no antidote, has horrendous side effects on all mammals (humans are mammals) birds, insects, and plant life.
1080 breaks down at 200C, dissolves easily in water and is known to create secondary and tertiary poisoning, and in many cases leaves the carcasses to rot over many months in catchment areas (insects die if they try to eat the carcass), creating a bacterial contamination.
It is time you did some research to find what is driving the fear and anger and the frustration. It is columns like yours that are ill-founded, ill-informed and somewhat unhinged.
You say anti-1080 people create havoc with the environment, which is also slanderous.
Most of us are well aware of the environment and the protection of it. Especially when it comes to humanity.
Awareness is driven by fear that we will have more effects like thalidomide, 245T, 24D, DDT, and asbestos, to name some. These were all declared safe by the manufacturers and our own EPA and yet created social trauma. The 1080 label and EPA say 1080 is not safe.
If you get a chance, look at the photos the New Plymouth nurse took over several years of fetal defects in the Paratutu area where the Dow factory was located. I am sorry, humanity comes first.
To try to tell New Zealand that there is no alternative to 1080, is crap.
Pests are very well controlled in all farmland and It was not aerial dropping of 1080.
Alternatives are controlled and precise.
However, I would prefer the expansion of these alternatives to the short and long term results of current uncontrolled aerial spreading by people who have no credibility or ethical behavior.
QUEENSTOWN LAKES DISTRICT COUNCIL MAYOR JIM BOULT PUBLICLY OPPOSES 1080 POISON !
Thanks to Carol Sawyer for this:
John Sarginson asked : “”Mayor Jim, bearing in mind we have enough water flowing from our hills to generate power for our own waste treatment plants and provide quality domestic water to our escalating population, what is your stance on the broad spectrum use of 1080 poison onto our land and into our water ways?”
So sad to see our beautiful country poisoned like this. And the apparent carelessness with which it is dropped and left for humans to touch. Little ones could easily run ahead, pick up those pretty looking baits & taste them before you even had time to stop them. Getting difficult isn’t it to be able to walk the wild places safely any more? EnvirowatchRangitikei
From Carol Sawyer
“One third to to one half of a cinammon-flavoured 1080 bait, comprised of cereal and 25% sugar, and as you can see an attractive ‘lolly-green’ can KILL a preschooler. A nibble, or even a lick of a bait could make a child very ill.”
It’s the school holidays and this is the Corner Peak Route, in the Timaru Creek 1080 drop zone area… late this afternoon.
Ten tonnes 1080 baits were aerially dropped here on 20 June, 2018. We have had an enormous amount of rain since then and yet, nearly 4 weeks later, here are baits looking as intact as when they were dropped from the sky
One third to to one half of a cinammon-flavoured 1080 bait, comprised of cereal and 25% sugar, and as you can see an attractive ‘lolly-green’ can KILL a preschooler. A nibble, or even a lick of a bait could make a child very ill.
This photo of children with 1080 baits in the Timaru Creek aerial 1080 drop zone, on the Corner Peak Route, shocked many people when it was posted online yesterday. (The photo was taken late yesterday afternoon, 15 July, 2018)
So Kirstin Dana and I decided to go and have a look for ourselves this afternoon. We climbed the Upper Timaru Creek Track to the Corner Peak Route, which is the red dotted line on the map.
We didn’t have to go far on the Corner Peak Route before there seemed to be baits everywhere. One had been crushed by a boot…. I hope that person cleaned his footwear when he got home. I poked one bait open with a stick and as you can see it was still vivid green inside.
The photos of the 1080 baits I here are just two of 13 baits that I photographed on just one 75 metre stretch of the track’
Bear in mind this is exactly 25 days since the drop. These 12 gram baits look as though they have just come out of the manufacturer’s bags ! You can see the ice on the track in the photo below.
A lot of 1080 must have been eaten though, as in two hours of walking we heard ONE bird… a Grey warbler on the other side of the valley. Apart from that, not a sound.
We came across sheep, including a dead one, and three donkeys, at the junction of the Upper Timaru Creek Track and the Corner Peak Route. They appeared to be in the drop zone – the closest baits we found on the track were approximately 100 metres up the hill from them.
It’s not really good enough this sort of thing, is it?
These baits are 0.15% pure 1080 poison and for anyone who doesn’t believe my calculations and wants to work it out for themselves… the LD50 of pure 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) is 0.7 to 2 mgs per kg of bodyweight, according to the govt-owned 1080 bait manufacturer, Animal Control Products, in Whanganui . The baits at Timaru Creek are standard 12 gm baits.
The average weight of a two-year old is between 12 kgs ( girl ) and 12.7 kgs ( boy ). One third to one half of a bait can kill a two-year-old ( boy or girl ).
A 3-year-old ( average weight 14 kgs ) could be killed by just over 1/2 bait ( 9.8mgs ).
And remember, this is NOT an exact science… they haven’t exactly experimented to come up with those figures. Nor are they likely to have exaggerated!
Are we surprised? I don’t think so. About time isn’t it? Reflect now on the use of 1080 all over our environment including the waterways, with impunity. Do you still feel safe under their watch? EnvirowatchRangitikei
“Committed conservation workers, even if they’re highly regarded, are being pushed out, Head says, because they don’t fit the mould of the department’s new corporate ideals…”
“The desire to listen to in-house expertise is gone. It’s much more important that we write plans and waste thousands and thousands of dollars on consultants developing so-called interface plans and task assignments than actually doing the job.”
Two top scientists are lifting the lid on the Department of Conservation’s “toxic” culture. David Williams reports.
A culture war is being waged within the Department of Conservation, says a former DOC ecologist who claims he’s been hounded out of the job.
Nick Head, the 2013 winner of the prestigious Loder Cup for conservation, quit the department last month and is taking a personal grievance claim. He says there’s a corporate culture in DOC being driven by management, that seems unable to face the inconvenient truth that its core function is to advocate for conservation. Some bosses seem unwilling to fight to protect special, rare and threatened places in case it upsets “relationships”, he says. That’s causing friction with some scientific, technical and frontline staff.
“There’s a culture war and there’s a lot of discontent.”
Head’s view, which he believes is widely shared within the department, is that DOC became highly politicised because it was seen as an impediment to the previous Government’s economic growth agenda. Some DOC staff became afraid to speak out or take a strong line.
“…the country’s rare flora and fauna are on the brink of a raft of extinctions, much of it down to DOC’s ineptitude…”
Committed conservation workers, even if they’re highly regarded, are being pushed out, Head says, because they don’t fit the mould of the department’s new corporate ideals. “They make life so difficult for them, they either leave or they find reasons to force them out.”Another Loder Cup winner, botanist Peter de Lange, left the department, disillusioned, in August last year, after being diagnosed with chronic stress. He thinks the department has lost its way, and that the country’s rare flora and fauna are on the brink of a raft of extinctions, much of it down to DOC’s ineptitude. He should know – De Lange was instrumental in developing the country’s threat classification system used since 2001.
“… the department has lost its way…”
Loder Cup winner, botanist Peter de Lange
With regard to Grant Vincent’s comments on the benefits of 1080 poison. As a logging contractor and bushman for the past 35 years, I have seen my fair share of 1080 poison drops. Every year parts of the forest estate where I worked were systematically poisoned every three years.
In my experience this creates very low bird numbers, especially predatory birds like the falcon, morepork, weka and hawk. All these birds I have found poisoned after a 1080 poison drop.
1080 poison was first developed as an insecticide, so what effect does this have on the forest ecosystem as a whole? And then there’s the effect on poisoning our waterways which run down to our coastline.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, TBfree and many regional councils backed by Forest and Bird support the aerial use of 1080 poison which indiscriminately kills all creatures that breathe oxygen through a slow, painful death that can take some animals days.
Then there is the crusade to have New Zealand pest-free by 2050, which includes deer and pigs. If you hunt wild game to feed your family, as most of my workers do, be concerned as this will affect you!
As I have always said to people who ask me about the effects of 1080 poison — go into a forest which has been poisoned by 1080 and see for yourself. Listen if you can hear any birds, and you will notice the smell of death.
Last year we posted news that HDC were considering public private partnerships to dispose of council assets. They seem to think we all came down in the last shower. Here we have a CE saying “but it was not yet known how profits would be spent or invested… ” Seriously … this is the person who we just heard paid local iwi secretly as per quote from Kapiti Independent News:
“Chief executive David Clapperton made the confidential agreement to provide at least $880,500 to Te Runanga o Raukawa on the proviso the Runanga withdraw its objection to council’s resource consent application to make discharges from the Foxton Waste Water Treatment Plant to Matakarapa Island”.
…& we’ve heard nary a whisper of that since it leaked out!… who also all but gifted $1.86 million of council assets (aka pensioner flats) to Willis & Bond property developers. (The auditor General’s fine with that we heard recently so I imagine it’s all go with the current giveaways as well). May as well say haere ra to this lot friends. The millions of dollars of assets I’m talking about, not the generous people who are giving them away. As we speak the community/memorial halls are up for grabs in Foxton & elsewhere. This looks distinctly like a land grab as eloquently described by the late Joan Veon who observed developments in the UN plans for so called ‘sustainable’ development that is clearly everything but sustainable … Public Private Partnerships ‘an arm of the world’s growing corporatocracy, the bottom line is to take control of the assets of government (links below). At the Agenda 21/30 pages (main menu, top of page) you can read NZer Dr Naomi Jacobs’ ebook on topic inspired by the rates hikes & property losses in Mangawhai.
Here is Stuff’s article:
Millions of dollars of council assets will be transferred into independent hands to help boost the Horowhenua economy.
The Horowhenua New Zealand Trust could be operating in the next month, chairman Cam Lewis said. It will own and manage property and assets given to it by the Horowhenua District Council, and promote the district as a place to do business.
The trust would benefit residents by increasing jobs in the district, but it was not yet known how profits would be spent or invested, he said.
Council staff said property to be transferred would only include “non-core properties”. The council owns almost $28 million in non-core property and more than $100m in assets.