WET JACKET PENINSULAS, FIORDLAND, AERIAL 1080 POISON DROP STARTS – WEEP FOR THE KEA!
By Carol Sawyer
“So, here they are again and this time DoC have done a wee conjuring trick and say it is for stoats (there being no rats). Stoats don’t eat 1080 baits.”
“We have an estimated 1,000 Kea left in the wild in New Zealand….. in the whole world in fact, as they are endemic – i.e.they exist only here! The latest 1080 poison drop in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, February 2020, killed 50% of the Kea. More than that will die in the Wet Jacket Peninsulas drop because it is midwinter and the Kea are very hungry.”
Do you know what happens to 1080-poisoned Kea? They stagger around taking hours and hours to die. They bury their heads in the snow to try and get relief from the pain. Dr.Jo Pollard says “The keas’ deaths will be horrific, with extreme muscular spasms going on for many hours.” David Attenborough called them the most intelligent bird in the world. They are the world’s only alpine parrot.
Three BK-117 helicopters – ZK-IME (a.k.a Big Red the Rescue Helicopter), ZK-HJK,(white), and ZK-HEM, (red and white), and a Longranger, all belonging to HeliOtago Ltd, left Dunedin at 6.30 pm this evening heading west to be in place for starting their evil work tomorrow morning. Seven choppers arrived at Monowai tonight… yet to find out if they are all HeliOtago Ltd or if three are from another company. I have been told HeliOtago Ltd flew the prefeed baits from a private farm property at Monowai, last weekend.
This area has never before been poisoned. The drop was planned for last October but there were NO rats so it was postponed and, I am told, the poison that had been brought south for the drop was instead used in the Kepler Mountains drop last March, which was squeezed in just before lockdown…. I’m informed they added on the Princess Mountains to use all the extra poison up. No monitoring done there apparently.
So, here they are again and this time DoC have done a wee conjuring trick and say it is for stoats (there being no rats). Stoats don’t eat 1080 baits.
I can tell you what it WILL kill in large numbers… Kea. As the area has never before been poisoned there are many Kea reported to be in the area. (A while back a pilot sent me a photo of seven Kea that landed beside him when he touched down there.)
We have an estimated 1,000 Kea left in the wild in New Zealand….. in the whole world in fact, as they are endemic – i.e.they exist only here! The latest 1080 poison drop in the Matukituki Valley, Mt Aspiring National Park, February 2020, killed 50% of the Kea. More than that will die in the Wet Jacket Peninsulas drop because it is midwinter and the Kea are very hungry.
The Empire of the Dept of Conservation, greedy helicopter companies, and all their parasitic acolytes WILL fall… but it will be too late for the Kea.
Any of you gutless DoC employees reading this who put your personal livelihoods before your knowledge of this travesty and the horror it entails, and keep your mouths shut pleading “I can’t afford to lose my job”… hang your heads in shame why don’t you! You know who you are!
Ditto the local media who know about this drop and are too scared to touch it and tell the truth. You know who you are too.
Peter Shadie Director, IUCN World Heritage Programme IUCN World Headquarters Rue Mauverney 28 1196 Gland Switzerland email: firstname.lastname@example.org
11 June 2020
Dear Mr Shadie
Re: Government poisoning of World Heritage sites in New Zealand – Open letter
I am writing to bring your attention to the serious issue of the New Zealand Government’s aerial poisoning of a World Heritage site and hope that you will urgently contact the World Heritage Committee so they may act on this matter. The 40,000 ha Wet Jacket area is to be aerially poisoned this month under contract to the government’s Department of Conservation (DoC). This poisoning is not justified as the appropriate scientific or technical measure necessary for the conservation of this site, and would breach New Zealand’s obligations under the World Heritage Convention.
The contractor’s application to DoC (attached) to poison the Wet Jacket area describes a hotspot of biodiversity, home to at least 17 species of endangered birds as well as 25 other species of birds. Six species of lizard have been recorded including the rare Fiordland skink. The invertebrate fauna is described as “not fully explored” and “distinctive and important” (Contract Wild Animal Control, 2019).
The 1080 poison to be used is broad spectrum, affecting organisms that breathe oxygen (ERMA, 2007). It is added to cereal food baits and distributed from hoppers carried beneath helicopters. The distribution process creates fragments (Morgan et al. 2015) and dust (Wright et al., 2002). Native lizards, birds and invertebrates are all known to feed on the cereal bait (ERMA 2007). The poison is highly toxic, readily contaminates despite stringent precautions, travels rapidly in water and up food chains, causes reproductive defects across a vast range of species and has highly variable effects which remain poorly understood, with studies being sparse and of poor quality (ERMA, 2007).
Due to poor monitoring, effects of 1080 poisoning on populations of most NZ native animals are unknown (ERMA, 2007; Whiting-O’Keefe & Whiting-O’Keefe, 2007). Only six species of birds were reported as reliably monitored through 1080 drops. Of those, fernbirds suffered most with an estimated 9% loss of the local population per poisoning (Fairweather et al., 2015). Kea have also been intensively monitored, with the finding that on average 12% of birds are killed per operation (DoC, 2016).
The Application to poison the Wet Jacket area shows significant shortcomings, as follow.
The reason given for poisoning the Wet Jacket area is to “protect the health and integrity of the flora and fauna susceptible to predation by rats, stoats and possums.” It lists animal species it considers particularly in need of protection: bats, kiwi, parakeets, kea and fiordland crested penguins.
These claims of susceptibility are not referenced or supported by scientific observations. In fact, it was concluded twice that predation was not a problem to kea (Jackson, 1969; Elliot & Kemp, 1999). Short-tailed bats were considered relatively safe from predators, being fast and agile, fiercely mobbing intruders and choosing winter roosts that were inaccessible (Lloyd et al., 2005). “Evidence” of predation of long tailed bats was just an observed association between low bat survival and high rat numbers (Pryde et al 2005; O’Donnell et al., 2011). Doc has attributed failures of some of its invasively monitored bird nests to predators, however they are not representative of undisturbed nests (Ellenberg et al., 2015).
Known costs left out of the Application include negative ecological effects from aerial poisoning. In many cases, rat numbers rebound to vast new heights within months (Innes et al., 1995; 2010; Powlesland et al., 1999; Ruscoe et al. 2008; Sweetapple et al., 2006). This effect can decimate prey such as invertebrates (Sweetapple & Nugent, 2007). Re-poisoning of rats is likely to become less and less effective due to the rats learning and developing physical tolerance (Byrom et al., 2013; Mitel, 2016; Pollard, 2016). Thus the Eglinton Valley (also in World Heritage site Fiordland National Park) has just received its fourth aerial poisoning in five years (2014, 2016, 2019, 2020). Despite increasing the intensity of the poisoning for rats in September 2019 (DoC, 2019a) another poisoning was carried out this May.
Mouse numbers usually increase soon after aerial poisoning (Innes et al., 1995; Sweetapple & Nugent, 2007, Ruscoe et al., 2008). The increases in rodents during the months after poisoning create ideal conditions to for stoats to flourish (Byrom et al., 2013). In addition, stoats that survived aerial poisoning were found to switch from eating rats to eating native birds (Murphy et al., 1988).
The Application contains no discussion of the conservation importance of the loss of kea, with previous studies indicating a 12% loss of local birds is expected. DoC claims that kea in remote areas are unlikely to get poisoned, however 9% of marked birds were killed by 1080 in an area chosen by DoC to represent remoteness (Kemp et al., 2016 unpublished). The total number of wild kea left is unknown and possibly less than 1000 ((Bond & Diamond, 1992; Harper, 2012; Roy, 2016).
Issues not addressed
Important issues left out of the Application include how much bait will enter the marine area; what effects there will be of baits, fragments and dust in the littoral zone (e.g. on penguins) and in the productive areas of shallow, still water; what will the effects be of the predicted “zero grazing ungulates” (being the last large grazing animals left); what are the chances of cold weather killing off rats in winter if they are left unpoisoned; should a highly diverse, unexplored ecological community be poisoned to try to make it better; what will be done if pest animal numbers are low, without poisoning.
DoC has a strong track record in misleading, pro-poisoning behaviour. It intrudes on nesting birds, attaches equipment to them and their nests, blames predators for nesting failures, then uses the poor nesting results to justify predator control (e.g. for kea (Kemp et al., 2014, unpublished), mohua (Elliott 1996), kiwi (Waterworth, 2019) and kaka (Moorhouse et al., 2003)). It quotes increased “nesting success” as an indication of a bird population’s positive response to poisoning, but nesting success is likely to increase if a population is culled (Nilsson 1984; Arcese & Smith 1988). “Five minute bird counts” are used by DoC to assess bird numbers. This method is notoriously unreliable (Westbrooke & Powlesland 2005; ERMA 2007; Green & Pryde 2012; Hartley 2012), due to major problems such as bird calls increasing after poisoning as birds try to find their dead partners and family, or search for new company.
DoC’s pro-poisoning bias and lack of scientific honesty are also apparent in its publications. For example a stoat plague that followed DoC’s aerial poisoning at Okarito (Kemp et al., 2015, unpublished) was truncated from the published graph (Kemp et al., 2017), despite this being an important outcome. In another example, in a study on bats after a 1080 operation, the contents of one bat roost tree had spilled onto open ground. Inspection revealed a baby bat with placenta attached, which tested positive for 1080. Other roosts in the study were inspected for dead and dying bats by roost camera “where practical” (Edmonds & Pryde, 2015). The published paper has a re-worded section of the original report that now insinuates all roosts were searched equally for dead babies (Edmonds et al., 2017).
The claim that some Eglinton Valley birds are prospering due to DoC’s 1080 poisoning (Minister of Conservation’s media release 11/4/20) is impossible to make: poison in bait stations and trapping are used to try to control mammals in the Eglinton Valley and any separate effects of 1080 cannot be assessed. Mohua (including some from the Wet Jacket area) were restocked there in 2010, 2015 and 2017.
Due to low rodent densities the Wet Jacket area poisoning was postponed in October 2019 (DoC, 2019c). The poisoning has since been promoted in the media as being needed to kill stoats, on the unscientific basis that local, heavily monitored kiwi chicks haven’t been surviving (Waterworth, 2020). These locally monitored kiwi weren’t even mentioned in the Application. There may be a very low stoat kill rate if there is a lack of poisoned rats for them to eat. If the poisoning proceeds regardless of low pest numbers, this will not be unusual. Makarora was poisoned in 2017 for rats despite low numbers (data accessed 22/3/17 via Official Information Act request); poisoning of Arthurs Pass in 2019 went ahead with no rats (data accessed 8/10/19) (mice were present but 1080 pellets are not usually eaten by mice (Fisher & Airey, 2009).
A fraction of the resources being used to poison the Wet Jacket area could support careful, scientific studies of the biodiversity and ecology of the area before a management plan is decided upon. Where populations of rare organisms are considered in immediate danger, localised, benign management can be applied, such as tree banding and caging, and protecting nesting kiwi and kea from DoC staff.
I trust you will act to prevent the unfounded wholesale poisoning of this precious site.
Dr Joanna Pollard (BSc (Hons), PhD)
See the IUCN reply to Dr Pollard below references.
Arcese, P., Smith, J.M., 1988. Effects of population density and supplemental food on reproduction in song sparrows. Journal of Animal Ecology 57: 119-136.
Bond, A., Diamond, J., 1992. Population estimates of Kea in Arthur’s Pass National Park. Notornis 39: 151-160.
Byrom, A., Banks, P., Dickman, C. & Pech, R., 2013. Will reinvasion stymie large-scale eradication of invasive mammals in New Zealand? Kararehe Kino 21: 6-7.
Contract Wild Animal Control, 2019b. Completed DoC Application form for predator control in the Wet Jacket Area. 34 pp.
DoC, 2016. Aerial 1080 in kea habitat. Code of Practice. NZ Department of Conservation Unclassified document. 24 pp.
DoC, 2019a. Application for DoC permission to use vertebrate VTAs assessment report: Clinton and Eglinton catchments. 11 pp.
Edmonds, H., Pryde, M., 2015. Eglinton Valley lesser short-tailed bat monitoring programme 2014/2015. DOCDM 1568082 15 pp.
Edmonds, H., Pryde, M., O’Donnell, C., 2017. Survival of PIT-tagged lesser short-tailed bats (Mystacina tuberculata) through an aerial 1080 pest control. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 17: 186-192.
Ellenberg, U., Edwards, E., Mattern, T., Hiscock, J.A., Wilson, R. & Edmonds, H., 2015. Assessing the impact of nest searches on breeding birds – a case study on Fiordland crested penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 39: 231-244.
Elliott, G., Kemp, J., 1999. Conservation ecology of kea (Nestor notabilis). WWF-NZ Final Report 1 August 1999, 64 pp.
Hartley, LJ 2012. Five-minute bird counts in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 36: 268-278.
Innes, J., Kelly, D., Overton, J., Gilles, C. 2010. Predation and other factors currently limiting New Zealand forest birds. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 34: 86-114.
Innes, J., Warburton, B., Williams, D., Speed, H., Bradfield, P. 1995. Large-scale poisoning of ship rats (Rattus rattus) in indigenous forests of the North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 19: 5-17.
Jackson, J.R., 1969. What do keas die of? Notornis 16: 33-44.
Kemp, J., Orr-Walker, T., Elliott, G., Adams, N., Fraser, J., Roberts, L., Mosen, C., Amey, J., Barrett, B., Makan, T., 2014, unpublished. Benefits to kea (Nestor notabilis) populations from invasive mammal control via aerial 1080 baiting. Department of Conservation. 29 pp.
Kemp, J., Cunninghame, F., Barrett, B., Makan, T., Fraser, J., Mosen, C., 2015, unpublished. Effect of an aerial 1080 operation on the productivity of the kea (Nestor notabilis) in a West Coast rimu forest. Department of Conservation report. 15 pp.
Kemp, J., Hunter, C., Mosen, C., Elliott, G., 2016, unpublished. Draft: Kea population responses to aerial 1080 treatment in South Island landscapes. Department of Conservation, 14 pp.
Kemp, J., Mosen, C., Elliott, G., Hunter, C., 2018. Effects of the aerial application of 1080 to control pest mammals on kea reproductive success, New Zealand Journal of Ecology 42: 158-168.
King, 1984. Immigrant Killers. Introduced Predators and the conservation of birds in New Zealand. Oxford University Press.
Moorhouse, R., Greene, T., Dilks, P., Powlesland, R., Moran, L., Taylor, G., Jones, A., Knegtmans, J., Wills, D., Pryde, M., Fraser, I., August, A., August, C. 2003: Control of introduced mammalian predators improves kaka Nestor meridionalis breeding success: reversing the decline of a threatened New Zealand parrot. Biological Conservation 110: 33–44.
Morgan, D., Hickling, G. 2000. Techniques Used for Poisoning Possums, in TL Montague (ed. The brushtail possum: biology, impact and management, Manaaki Whenua Press, Lincoln, pp. 143-153.
Murphy, E., Clapperton, B., Bradfield, P., Speed, H. 1998. Effects of rat-poisoning on abundance and diet of mustelids in New Zealand podocarp forests. NZ J Zoology 25: 315-328.
Nilsson, S.G., 1984. The evolution of nest-site selection among hole-nesting birds: The importance of nest predation and competition. Ornis Scandinavica 15: 167-175.
Pollard. J.C., 2016. Aerial 1080 poisoning in New Zealand: Reasons for concern.
Powlesland, R., Knegtmans, J., Marshall, I. 1999. Costs and benefits of aerial 1080 possum control operations using carrot baits to North Island Robins (Petroica australis longipes), Pureora Forest Park. NZ J Ecology 23: 149-159.
Roy, E.A., 2016. New Zealand kea, the world’s only alpine parrot, faces extinction
Westbrooke, I.M., Powlesland, R.G., 2005. Comparison of impact between carrot and cereal 1080 baits on tomtits (Petroica macrocephala). New Zealand Journal of Ecology 29: 143-147.
Whiting O’Keefe, P., Whiting-O’Keefe, Q., Aerial monofluoroactate in New Zealand’s forests. An appraisal of the scientific evidence. 89 pp.
Wright, G., Booth, L., Morriss, G., Potts, M., Brown, L., Eason, C. 2002. Assessing potential environmental contamination from compound 1080 (sodium monofluoroacetate) in bait dust during possum control operations. New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Science 45: 57-65.
DoC of course are blaming the feeding of kea, do read the information from Dr Jo Pollardto put that one to rest. EWR
from the Otago Daily Times
There are thought to be between 1,000 and 5,000 of the alpine parrots left in New Zealand, and the Kea Conservation Trust says it’s seen a fall in the population in the South Island’s Hawdon Valley in recent years. “When you go up into the mountains, the numbers are really concerning,” volunteer Mark Brabyn tells Stuff.co.nz. “We don’t want to wait until there is only a couple of hundred left to do something.”
Kea are known for their trusting nature around humans, often approaching passers by and happily gobbling up junk food. But that’s part of the problem. Gorging on ice cream and chips left over by hikers – or sometimes fed directly to the birds – can end up killing them. Stoats are another major threat, destroying all six kea nests in the area last year with no chicks surviving, Mr Brabyn says.
The government has previously admitted that the controversial poison 1080, which is dropped from the air to kill predators, is also responsible for killing some kea. Studies are being carried out to determine whether the poison is an overall help or hindrance to the birds.
The Kea Conservation Trust is now trying to crowdfund a mobile app to track kea with the public’s help. Anyone who encounters a tagged bird would be able to input its tag number to learn more about that individual, log its location, condition and behaviour, and even upload photos. “It would give us such valuable information about numbers and how far they were travelling, and would raise awareness about the bird. People would be connecting and caring,” Mr Brabyn says.
As far as predators go, New Zealand’s government wants to rid the whole country of stoats, rats and possums by 2050, saying these non-native animals kill 25 million native birds each year. But the kea’s inquisitive nature can make even well-meaning pest control efforts difficult.
In February, seven of the birds died after breaking into stoat traps to get at the egg and meat bait inside, prompting the Department of Conservation to modify 700 traps to make them kea-proof. Current research into traps involves stoat anal glands, which presumably won’t attract curious birds.
5G – health and environment. 6 challenging lectures, Norway at Litteraturhuset, 26 Oct. 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Cp8E… Claire Edwards speaking at a seminar in Oslo, Norway, on Saturday 26 October 2019. Elon Musk has now applied to the Federal Communications Commission for permission to launch a further 30,000 satellites into Earth orbit, bringing the current total to 53,000 (October 2019). With the issues of space debris and weaponization being the two major issues of concern at the UN year after year, this is a mad enterprise, especially when NATO intends to declare space a domain of warfare in December 2019. We stand at the brink of extinction if we do not stop the madness.
Note: Remember the convoy of Nature Conservancy’s international bankers that flew over Fiordland some time back? Where are they? We were told they were about recovering our Kākāpō and Takahē. EWR
“It is very disturbing to see this, as Kea were numerous in these catchments prior to the intensive poison drops in the Hollyford and Clinton catchments” … Dick Deaker
By Carol Sawyer
Heli-hunter Dick Deaker has written today:
“I got 14 deer yesterday morning, most in the Clinton Valley. We never saw a Kea!! And as you can see the gut bags from the deer we shot there 3 weeks ago are untouched! It is very disturbing to see this, as Kea were numerous in these catchments prior to the intensive poison drops in the Hollyford and Clinton catchments. And they are about to do them all again in the next couple of months!!!!”
Dick says none of the gut bags they have left in the last five years in the Clinton Valley have been touched since the poisonings started, and none in the Hollyford either since the first aerial 1080 drop there 20 months ago
Dick has been a helihunter in Fiordland for 47 years.
End note: The Kea, endemic to NZ, (i.e. not found elsewhere), is the world’s only truly Alpine parrot. It is omnivorous and eats a wide range of plant and animal matter, loving to scavenge carcasses. Consequently it is doubly at risk from aerial 1080 poisoning, eating the sweet 1080 poison cereal-baits and also scavenging on the poisoned carcasses, which causes secondary poisoning.
NOTE: If you are pro poisoning of the environment, EnvirowatchRangitikei is not really the forum to espouse your opinions. Mainstream, where those views are already the status quo would be the place to air those. Nearly 70% of DoC’s studies justifying the use of 1080 poison were conducted in-house. This is a venue reserved for sharing the independent science that you won’t of course find there. To the public – feel free to read both & make up your own minds.
If you are new to the 1080 poisoning program, here is a good article to start with: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO CONCERNED ABOUT 1080? A must watch also is Poisoning Paradise, the doco made by the GrafBoys (banned from screening on NZ TV, yet a 4x international award winner). Their website is tv-wild.com. Their doco is a very comprehensive overview with the independent science to illustrate the question marks that remain over the use of this poison. There are links also on our 1080 resources page to most of the groups, pages, sites etc that will provide you with further information.
By Bill Wallace, (Leader of the Ban1080 Party and a qualified ecologist), April 22, 2017
The first Department of Conservation radio-tagging trial with Kea during an aerial 1080 poisoning operation was in 2008. Of the 17 monitored Kea at Franz Josef, 7 died of 1080 poisoning. (40% mortality)
DoC’s excuse at the time “may have been because juvenile Kea in the area had a habit of investigating “human-type” junk foods. .” (ODT 2/08/08)
In 2008 The Dominion Post obtained a draft internal report by DOC after the 7 deaths. The report says “aerial 1080 may well be a significant threat to the Kea population” with some drops “probably devastating”…
DoC’s Dr. Josh Kemp said “The Franz Josef Kea deaths had “shocked and stunned” DOC” (Stuff 28/01/09)
But Kea deaths from 1080 poison have been proven for over 52 years.
In 1964 Protection Forest workers picked up 4 dead Kea and 8 dead seagulls after a single 1080 drop. The birds tested positive for 1080 poisoning. (M.H.Douglas: Control of Tahr: Evaluation of a Poisoning Technique July 1966).
To find 12 large poisoned birds on foot would indicate the death rate must have been devastating for all the bird species in the area. DoC like to blame the decline in Kea numbers on early bounties. “ Kea had numbered in the hundreds of thousands but were devastated when a bounty was paid to kill them because of concerns they attacked stock.” (Press 29/07/08)
In 2011, DoC poisoned 7 out of 11 Kea at North Okarito ( 60% mortality). DoC’s excuse this time “It seemed likely the more open nature of the North Okarito forest was a factor, Mr Costello said” (ODT 12/09/11)
DoC then went on in 2013 to kill 5 radio-tagged Kea at Arthur’s Pass, DoC’s excuse this time “the repellent was less than the target concentration”( Stuff 21/08/13)
If such inane, puerile excuses were put forward by CYPS or the Police next time a vulnerable child is brutally killed, the media and politicians alike would take the offending officials to task. DoC appear immune from such scrutiny.
In 1999 DoC’s Dr’s Elliot and Kemp said “Kea nests appear to be relatively immune to predation from introduced mammals…Our results agree with a previous study of Kea nesting at Arthur’s Pass, where no evidence of significant nest predation was found (Jackson 1963).” (G Elliot & J Kemp 1999)
Now DoC claim “The Kea deaths are unfortunate but without protection most Kea chicks are killed by stoats. (Westport News 26/01/15)
So what has changed, DoC’s inept monitoring of nests since 2000 would appear to be resulting in further Kea predation and nest abandonment.
Overseas bird experts warn “Avoid leaving tracks or human scent that can direct predators to nests.” (Cornell University Ornithology Dept 2011) “visiting nests to check the contents necessarily results in disturbance of the individuals being studied. Moreover, investigator disturbance may increase the probability of nest predation… Human disturbance may also reduce nest attendance” (Elser and Grand 1993).
The logic is simple. Birds fly to their nests and leave no scent trail. Dr’s Elliot and Kemp and their sweaty cohorts leave a scent trail to the nests that a geriatric stoat on crutches could follow. “Eggs and chicks disappeared from 35% of the nests we monitored and at two of these nests definite sign of stoat predation was found” “Once it was found, we checked each nest every 2-3 weeks until it either failed or the chicks had fledged…” (G Elliot& J Kemp 2004)
Black-billed seagulls are now endangered, but DoC’s predecessors knew they were slaughtering them in their breeding grounds during the nesting season back in 1964. “A Department of Conservation report on bird numbers has classified the Black-billed gull “nationally critical”, the most serious category, usually reserved for our rarest birds, because of the rate of expected decline. There were an estimated 180,000 to 200,000 of the birds in 1977. There are now thought to be 60,000 to 70,000.” (Stuff 30/10/14)
In 2014, when DoC first monitored the endangered Rock wren through an aerial 1080 drop, 29 of 44 birds “disappeared” ( 65% mortality). DoC blamed “heavy snowfall” at the time and said “We have found no dead rock wren. There’s no evidence to suggest that … we’ve knocked them out with 1080.”(Herald 19/01/15)
But DoC’s Dr. Elliot now admits “The 1080 drop in 2014 killed four Keas and led to the death of Rock Wrens” (Fairfax Nov 16th 2015)
So why do so many otherwise sane people accept everything that DoC tell them? The so called independent EPA report is often cited, and the Parliamentary Commissioner for Environment, Dr Wright is an absolute “1080-ophile”
But the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) review was called for by Department of Conservation (DoC) and Animal Health Board, and there was no cross examination of witnesses from either side of the debate. In October 2006, the AHB and DoC jointly submitted the formal application for reassessment of 1080. The applicants argued that 1080 is essential to controlling possums, which pose significant risks to farming (through the spread of bovine Tb) and to the environment (through predation of native plants and birds – EPA 2007).
The EPA report therefore, is similar in stature to a Local Council decision, made by Councillors or Commissioners. Such Council decisions are often completely rejected or significantly modified by the Environment Court, with the benefit of cross examination of witnesses.
Even after 63 years use of 1080 poison, DoC’s Graeme Elliot says “How are you supposed to find out how to do it perfectly? There is a lot of learning to do before we will get these operations perfect.” (Fairfax March 29th 2016)
There is not a shadow of doubt in my mind, or in that of the many retired Forest Service personnel and bushmen that I know, that the single biggest cause of the rapid decline of species such as Kea and Rock wren, is DoC and its inept and continuing use of 1080, and these species may well be extinct in our lifetimes, probably before Dr. Elliot finishes “learning”.
Leader Ban1080 Political Party, (April, 2017)
So according to this article from the News Room, Ngāi Tahu have been instrumental in the loss of habitat for the small brown Eyrewell beetle in NZ… and it would appear, DoC almost powerless to stop them? The little beetle, like many insects world wide, is becoming extinct (not that any manufacturers of the lucrative poisons slathered world wide over everything would care).
Whatever you may think about Ngāi Tahu or their part in the demise of this beetle DoC can hardly point fingers at them witness our increasingly silent forests in NZ. They are dropping tonnes of the insecticide 1080 all over our ecosystem like a veritable lolly scramble, with no long term studies to prove to us it is saving our birds as it claims. On top of all that they actually claim it targets pests (& does not kill non target creatures) when clearly by their own documented information & independent science, 1080 kills every living breathing organism period. The little beetle here also began its demise with the ongoing planting & felling of pine forests. So really it’s a bit rich all round to be pointing the finger at Ngāi Tahu. Aside from that, turn the clock back a century and a bit & you’ll find the ongoing cry was that Māori lands that were uncultivated or not farmed were ‘waste’ lands, a good reason why Māori shouldn’t own them. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
Search for Eyrewell Forest on Google Maps and you won’t find a forest. In fact, what you see looks similar to surrounding Canterbury farm land.
What was once a forest is now home to 14,000 dairy cows. Satellite photographs show a tell-tale pattern of circles where centre-pivot irrigators are busy creating grass where trees once stood.
The forest was home to a small, dark brown beetle commonly known as the Eyrewell ground beetle. Globally, only 10 have ever been found. All were found amongst trees in Eyrewell Forest, the last in 2005.
The beetles’ home was returned to Ngāi Tahu as part of a treaty settlement in 2000. Since then the 6700 hectares of plantation pines have steadily disappeared and dairy cows have taken over.
“The success and effectiveness of Ngāi Tahu Farming is connected to the health and wellbeing of the lands, waterways, plants and animals under our care which is central to our kaitiakitanga values.”
The march of chainsaws, shredders and pivot irrigators continued despite eight years of effort by the Department of Conservation (DOC) to convince Ngāi Tahu Farming to save some the beetles’ habitat in reserves.
In October 2018 Ngāi Tahu Farming told Stuff the last of the forest would be removed for the intensive dairy conversion. Its CEO Andrew Priest said the organisation turns to Ngāi Tahu values guide their farming.
“The success and effectiveness of Ngāi Tahu Farming is connected to the health and wellbeing of the lands, waterways, plants and animals under our care which is central to our kaitiakitanga values.”
According to him 120 hectares of plantation pine has been retained. From aerial photographs it appears this has been done only in one area where beetles were possibly found. Other areas where beetles were found are treeless, one area has a small amount of scrub.
Priest said Lincoln University has been surveying the likely remaining spots of the beetle since 2013. No beetles have been found. He said search efforts will be abandoned in 2020.
The risk of extinction is so extreme one scientist, Eckehard Brockerhoff, who found five of the 10 collected beetles, is considered penning an obituary.
If he does, the obituary will be scant on detail of the beetle as so little is known about it. It’s a bit over 1cm long, nocturnal, and scientists think it lives for two years.
Wingless and described as a “moderate” runner it has managed to move from the kānuka it inhabited in the 1920s to the plantation pine which replaced it. It could even be called tenacious, as it also survived repeated rounds of removing and replacing areas of plantation pine as areas of forest were progressively logged and replanted.
Whether its tenacity could survive the dairy conversion is another matter according to Brockerhoff who spent thousands of trapping days attempting to find the beetle in the early 2000s. His efforts netted five beetles.
“It [the dairy conversion] involves felling all the trees, ripping out the root stock and then pretty much mulching the coarser woody material which is left behind into small chips. They took like a giant shredder over it. It was a very effective method of not only shredding any plant matter, but any invertebrates that are larger than a pinhead. I didn’t think the beetles would have stood much of a chance to survive in those converted areas.”
In the views of the scientists, setting aside a reserve of plantation pine where beetles were found in the 6700 ha property could have given the beetle a fighting chance.
Brockerhoff sums up Ngāi Tahu Farming’s reception to the idea of establishing a reserve to save the beetles habitat as “a bit reluctant.”
Documents attained under the Official Information Act show repeated efforts were made by DOC between 2005 and 2013 to promote the creation of a reserve.
Emails exchanges started off cheerfully. A 2009 email from DOC to Ngāi Tahu’s rural manager reads: “Just been chatting to [redacted name] here at DOC re the possibility of setting up a reserve at Eyrewell – the same chat we had about two years ago I’m sure you recall!!!”
Once trees started to be cut down and with no formal agreement about the creation of a reserve the tone grew more urgent. In internal DOC emails frustration is clear.
“It’s fine for private landowners to develop their land, however it seems absurd for us a community to be allowing the unplanned clearance of much of the forest when this will knowingly cause the extinction of Holcaspis [Eyrewell ground beetle] …”
A plan by Ngāi Tahu Farming to reserve 150ha of pine forest was called “commendable”, however, the location of the reserve was not in the area where the beetle had been found. Restoration planting Ngāi Tahu Farming was planning to undertake was also not considered to be a solution which would save the beetle.
“… preserving a small amount of their habitat before it is gone will give us a great chance of saving these species from global extinction and regional extinction respectively, and one that is far more effective than some-how recreating their habitat … some minor changes to the location and size of the reserves would effectively save these species from extinction.”
DOC staff listed their attempts at finding a way to save the beetles’ habitat through the district and regional council pathways. A judicial review was suggested, although it was noted this was with some nervousness as there would be several “legal fish hooks”.
There was no judicial review. After 2013, the emails stopped.
DOC Mahaanui operations manager Andy Thompson said he understood Ngāi Tahu Farming commissioned Lincoln University to help with restoration efforts after 2013. Thompson was not aware of what the outcome has been and whether DOC’s eight years campaigning for a reserve had any effect.
“DOC would have loved to have seen a reserve created and an Eyrewell ground beetle population flourishing. The reality is we can only provide advice for managing biodiversity values on private land or advocate through consent processes and district council plans.
“We don’t have the ability to directly manage private land.”
“The fact that most of the forest has gone and now no beetles are being found means they’ve likely already been driven extinct, and a couple more years of trapping will probably confirm that.”
Ngāi Tahu Farming’s response
Priest said the plight of the beetle was an issue of importance to Ngāi Tahu Farming.
“Since 2013, Lincoln University has been surveying the Eyrewell Forest area at the request of Ngāi Tahu and has found no beetles. They have surveyed in the likely remaining sites using the same techniques as the original survey and have not found any beetles after searching for approximately 30,000 trap days. These annual surveys will continue until 2020 at this stage.
“In this area, approximately 120ha of pine forest has been retained and at least another 100ha of land has been set aside for native kānuka shrub land restoration. The pine forest in the central section of the development has not been cleared away, which is important to note because it is in this area that Canterbury Beetles [Eyrewell beetles] were once recorded.”
Ngāi Tahu Farming have been asked to clarify where these areas are on an aerial map but did not respond prior to publishing.
Wikipedian-at-large and keen entomologist Doctor Mike Dickison has expressed concern over the plight of the beetles for several months. He was not impressed by Ngāi Tahu Farming’s efforts.
“The preferred habitat of the beetle is pine forest, and they’ve removed 98.3% of the pine forest, chipped and mulched what’s left, and turned it into dairy pasture.”
With only one of the areas the beetle has been found in left as forest he suspects it will never be seen again.
“The fact that most of the forest has gone and now no beetles are being found means they’ve likely already been driven extinct, and a couple more years of trapping will probably confirm that.”
He’s not reassured by the claims of restoration efforts. During a recent visit to the area he saw planting in the corners of centre-pivot irrigated paddocks with dead plants.
A Lincoln University website show what it calls a “distributed forest” as being proposed for the farm. Concept drawings show thin rings of native trees surrounding centre-pivot irrigators.
Brockerhoff said when he was in talks with Ngāi Tahu Farming it hoped shelter belts which were going to be established between irrigated paddocks would provide enough habitat for the beetles.
“We suggested a single row of trees in the landscape established after the habitat conversion would probably not do the trick.”
He was unsurprised at the news no beetles have been found since he found the last one in 2005.
“I think the surveys done from 2013 onwards was after the pine forest had been cleared.”
He said while guesswork was involved, it’s probable no beetles have been found because the forests gone: “The shredding and the mulching would not have left a lot of invertebrates behind.”
While 120ha might sound like a large area it’s still a limited habitat according to Brockerhoff.
“Even if there is a population there, there’s no guarantee they can actually survive there.”
“The decision to convert Eyrewell Forest to pasture has been driven by an economic assessment of profitability, with little consideration of biodiversity values.”
Why can’t we save a beetle?
Insects on private land don’t have much protection. The only exception is if they are listed as protected under the Wildlife Act. Despite being on a DOC list of 150 conservation priority species, the Eyrewell ground beetle is not on the list of protected insects.
A draft policy for indigenous biodiversity has been written which could cover insects in the future, however, there’s disagreement about plantation forests. The Forest Owners’ Association and Federated Farmers want a special exclusion stopping any plantation forest from being classed as being worthy of protection, regardless of what threatened species might live there.
While most don’t think of commercial pine forests as hotbeds of biodiversity they’ve become home to a surprising number of New Zealand’s threatened species. A 2010 article published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology found 118 species listed as threated live in plantation forests. These include birds such as kiwi and falcons, bats, fish, plants, and invertebrates like the Eyrewell ground beetle.
The article makes special mention of the Eyrewell forest:
“However, this forest, along with several others in this area, is currently being converted to pasture, primarily for dairying. The decision to convert Eyrewell Forest to pasture has been driven by an economic assessment of profitability, with little consideration of biodiversity values. If the conversion is implemented without setting aside adequate areas of suitable habitat for H. brevicula [Eyrewell beetle] (i.e. plantation forest or restored kānuka forest) then this species is likely to become extinct in the near future.”
Brockerhoff’s most optimistic view of the likelihood the beetles’ tenacity might help it survive the dairy conversion is far from inspiring.
“The chances aren’t too good but it’s difficult to say.”
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.
A WELL-KNOWN TE ANAU HELICOPTER PILOT SPEAKS OUT ABOUT THE LOSS OF KEA DUE TO AERIAL 1080 POISON
If anyone would know about Kea numbers in Fiordland, Dick Deaker would.
Fiordland helicopter pilot Dick Deaker is one of the central figures in the deer recovery industry through its peak to today. He began as a deer culler, moved from fixed wing to helicopters and then into live recovery and the “Deer Wars”.
He says :
“There has only been one Kea seen in the Earl Mountains, (Fiordland National Park), since the last big 1080 poison drop there. We rarely see any in the Kepler Mountains since the last big drop – one at the Luxmore Hut. Prior to the last drop up to six Kea hung around the hut.
Plenty of Kea on western catchments! The Grebe catchment has never been poisoned, and it is not unusual to see up to 100+ some mornings. Groups of six or more are common.
I spoke to S…. G….. of Tuatapere a couple of weeks ago. When they 1080’ed Rata Burn West last time he never saw a Kea again for two years!! It was the home of Kea!
We are watching one of New Zealand’s greatest environmental tragedies taking place! Worse than the introductions of stoats, ferrets, possums, wilding pines etc. that were all brought in by government agencies of bygone years!”
Giraffe subspecies listed as ‘critically endangered’ for first time
Right on topic with today’s other posting on Tahr, as the authorities cull our own NZ wildlife, anything non native according to the UN agreement signed up to decades ago without our awareness. They are expunging every non native except farm stock. Along with this plan for eliminating ‘pests’ we are also seeing the extinction of various species, planet wide. Our own native Kea are dwindling fast.
In the animated film “Rio,” a Spix’s Macaw named Blu flies all the way from Minnesota to Rio de Janeiro because he’s the last living male of his species and that’s where Jewel, the last living female, lives. Blu and Jewel ultimately fall in love, have a baby and the movie ends happily – with the hope that the literal lovebirds can save their species. In the real world, however, Blu would’ve been too late.
A new study by BirdLife International, a global partnership of conservation organizations that strive to conserve bird species around the world, reveals that in recent years several bird species have lost their fight for survival. And sadly, one of those species is the beautiful Spix’s Macaw. The species is now considered extinct in the wild, although some of the birds survive in breeding programs.
While the vast majority of bird extinctions in recent centuries have occurred on isolated islands, five of the eight highlighted by this study occurred in South America – four in Brazil alone – a tragic statement on the impact of deforestation in that part of the world.
Here is an article from 2007, and the drops continue, in spite of the clear scientific evidence it is not beneficial to our ecosystem.
“We have audited Department of Conservation scientific research and produced an 88-page monograph reviewing more than 100 scientific papers.
The results are startling and belie most of the department’s claims.
First, there is no credible scientific evidence showing that any species of native bird benefits from the dropping of tonnes of 1080 into our forest ecosystems
Second, considerable evidence exists that DoC’s aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm”Quinn and Patricia Whiting-O’Keefe
Scientists, Quinn and Patricia Whiting-O’Keefe: “Poison facts belie the claims”
There is now a familiar litany of scientifically insupportable claims about what great things aerial 1080, a universal poison, is doing for our forest ecosystems. The people of New Zealand have a right to know the truth about what the scientific evidence shows.
We have audited Department of Conservation scientific research and produced an 88-page monograph reviewing more than 100 scientific papers.
The results are startling and belie most of the department’s claims.
First, there is no credible scientific evidence showing that any species of native bird benefits from the dropping of tonnes of 1080 into our forest ecosystems, as claimed by the department and Kevin Hackwell. There is certainly no evidence of net ecosystem benefit.
We have repeatedly challenged DoC and Mr Hackwell, a representative of the Forest and Bird Society, to come forward with the hard scientific evidence for their “dead forest” claims. They have not.
Second, considerable evidence exists that DoC’s aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm, as one would expect, given that 1080 is toxic to all animals. It kills large numbers of native species of birds, invertebrates and bats.
Moreover, most native species are completely unstudied. In addition considerable evidence shows there are chronic and sublethal effects to vertebrate endocrine and reproductive systems, possibly including those of humans.
Considerable evidence demonstrates that DoC’s aerial 1080 operations are doing serious harm. Photos: Upper (Tomtit in hand) by Clyde Graf Lower (multiple dead birds) by Jim Hilton:
Dead birds found over a few acres, after 270,000 hectare aerial 1080 poison drop, Kahurangi National Park, 2014. This was the first year of DoC’s “Battle for our Birds” drops.
Third, DoC claims that one can drop food laced with 1080, a universal poison (World Health Organisation classification “1A extremely hazardous”) indiscriminately into a semi-tropical forest ecosystem and only negatively affect one or two target “pest” species. That is counterintuitive and scientifically improbable.
Fourth, as far as we can determine no other country in the world is doing (or has ever done) anything remotely similar – mass poisoning of a semi-tropical ecosystem on the scale that the department is now doing to ours.
Fifth, and perhaps most disturbing, is that what the department-sponsored research shows has been habitually misrepresented – entirely unjustifiable assertions regarding 1080’s benefits and lack of harm.
Statements like those of Mr Hackwell that the forests will be “dead” without poisoning them with 1080, and from John McLennan (Landcare Research) and Al Morrison (then Director General of DoC) that 1080 is existentially necessary to Kiwis is pure demagoguery and scientific nonsense.
What is at risk by continuation of this extraordinary practice – and it is unique in the world – is the ecological integrity of our forest ecosystems, our reputation as an environmentally sane and responsible country, and our existence as a society in which reason and rationality can triumph over bureaucratic prerogative and budgetary gain.
Since Galileo Galilee first discovered the moons of Jupiter in the 17th century, the way to resolve this kind of disagreement has been to do the experiment and examine the evidence, and that is precisely what we urge everyone to do.
Don’t believe DoC. Don’t believe Mr Hackwell. Don’t believe us – believe the evidence. To that end we will provide a copy of our report and the source scientific research papers to all who would like to read them.
* Quinn and Patricia Whiting-O’Keefe are retired scientists.
See also our 1080 pagesfor info & links, &/or search ‘categories’ drop down box for further related articles (at left of any page).
Share & help spread the word on all the untruths we have been told,
Please Note re commenting:
Your comments are welcome, however if you are a fan of 1080 & wish to highlight DoC’s data then mainstream media is the place to go. This site is reserved for providing independent research & unfortunately I do not have the time to monitor long discussions. As well, I decline to publish information that is freely available on DoC’s own website. People can go there and peruse that for themselves.
The Totara in question is on a property now owned by Willis & Bond / Compassion Horowhenua Housing. They are the new owners of Johnston Street community housing that was formerly Council owned. The tree to the right of the fence in the photo is to be cut back, that one is on Council property (Seaview Gardens). However the other tree to the left is to be felled. This native Totara is not currently listed as a ‘notable tree’, the only thing I understand that could prevent its being felled. The by-laws apparently have recently changed in the Horowhenua preventing the species from being protected there. So how is this a forward move? Felling a protected native species? Have local iwi been consulted on this?
It should in my opinion be cut back (for easier ongoing maintenance of the buildings if that is what is required) … but not felled. That is very backward thinking.
The following article reflects the direction Councils are taking in their professions of Treaty Partnership with regard to native trees. Their websites tend to pay lip service only to the Treaty. It is described in the article how the Auckland Council failed to support a rāhui placed on the Waitakere Forest to protect Kauri, another protected species.
“The council’s Environment and Community Committee chose to reject the rāhui request made byTe Kawarau-a-Maki, deciding instead to close only high-risk and medium-risk tracks.”
So it would appear the Horowhenua District Council is moving in a similar direction? With recent by-law changes the protected species is now set for the chop.
Note: I have requested of Council today (5th Feb) that the tree be made ‘notable’. They’ve referred my request to a ‘Strategic Planner’ to respond. Please consider requesting the same by sending an email to:
Kea are one of the most endangered parrots on Earth. The New Zealand Govt agency – Department of Conservation – continues to aerially drop poisonous food directly into kea habitat to kill rats, possums and deer … but it’s not just rats and deer that are dying …
Header Photo Credit: Wikipedia (white baiting net on Hutt River NZ)
So the whitebait are declining our esteemed experts notice. Note, as always with mainstream, they doctor up aka re frame the terminology to make the information more palatable. For example the term “pollution” has become “declining water quality” which is, as we’ve been seeing for at least a century now, human sewage discharged into the waterways, industrial discharge from chemical factories and farming run off including pesticides, fertilizers and animal excrement, as well as the trampling of the edges of the waterways which whitebait need to spawn“. This pollution has all resulted in waterways that are too trashed & fouled for any living organism … and this is re framed as “a reduction in habitat”. Those terms are less distasteful than just plain “shit in the water”. It takes the spotlight off the main polluters also, these are industries run by corporations largely and we need to stay in bed with those because after all economic development is a priority over environment …. as we all know. This is also known as ‘sustainable development’. ‘Yeah right” I hear you say & I totally agree. Sustainable development is a scam right out of Agenda 21 now 2030 (the updated more fascist version, (see also Agenda 21/30 in NZ). And you’re thinking ‘fascist’ is rather extreme a term … not if you really look hard. And especially if you’ve ever tried to stop this pollution. In some countries you could be murdered for such a ‘crime’ as exposing polluting practices, however here in New Zealand (clean and green, GE free, corruption free, nuclear free and so on is the general fake spin) we’re a little more covert than that. Note in their list of possible solutions … “ending commercial whitebaiting, introducing catch allowances for recreational whitebaiters and an independent review of the long-term sustainability of the fishery …” they all focus on fishing and nothing much about addressing the “declining water quality”. If you watch the following video from the Horowhenua you’ll hear also the commentary on how the whitebait breeding grounds are being destroyed by dairy beef cattle in un fenced water ways. (Dairy cattle are not allowed in the waterways, dairy beef cattle are … go figure on that one, courtesy of our Regional Council).
NZ’s whitebait species will be totally extinct by 2034, warn environmental scientists
Environmental scientists are warning the government that all five native whitebait species will become extinct by 2034 if action isn’t taken immediately.
Massey University’s Kyleisha Foote and Pierce McNie presented a petition with more than 3000 signatures to the Primary Production Select Committee this morning.
They say commercial whitebait fishing, declining water quality, and a reduction in habitat are behind the falling number of whitebait.
According to the scientists, without immediate action one of the five whitebait species could be extinct within three years and all five will be extinct in 2034.
“We have known about the decline for a long time yet there has been no change in the management of the fishery in the last 20 years,” said Foote.
“We’re thinking if we don’t do anything now there’s going to be no whitebait left for recreation whitebaiters to go and be able to catch a feed.”
They made a raft of recommendations including ending commercial whitebaiting, introducing catch allowances for recreational whitebaiters and an independent review of the long-term sustainability of the fishery.
See the stats! It really is 100 percent pure illusion! In our own district we’ve had no in stream biota survey since 2002 – and one year later we’re still waiting for an RDC estimate for when the next one will be – in spite of a 3 yearly consent requirement! Note in the header image, taken locally, the banks are also often slathered with glyphosate, a known, probable carcinogen.
“Of 112 monitored lakes, a 2010 Niwa study found 44% are eutrophic – so burdened by excess agricultural nutrients that they have become murky, smelly and inhospitable to many fish, reports Joy. Almost all (90%) our lowland wetlands – the “kidneys of our waterways” – have been destroyed. Three-quarters of our native freshwater fish are threatened with extinction (up from 20% in the early 1990s), yet only one – the grayling, which has been extinct for decades – has legal protection.”
“Dr Mike Joy, NZ 100% Pure! The challenges of truth telling in a commercially driven world.
Note: Since the Key National Government came to power, the word ‘sustainable’ has been deleted from governmental and departmental vocabulary.
New Zealand is currently running at 162nd in our environmental performance out of 180 countries globally.
It is extremely difficult to access data on water quality in this country as it is ‘locked away’ from public scrutiny, even the Ministry for the Environment does not write it up for public consumption.
Researchers have to spend hours and days searching out any little snippet of information that is buried in Regional Council reports, because these reports too, are filed away from community analysis.
The reason for this impediment is because there is no Agency in this country that deals with such basic and important factual statistics and information and if this accumulated data was in the public domain, the Ministers involved would look so bad that the charade of ‘Clean Green NZ’ would be coherently shredded.
Yet, the latest statistics that are available for public information still go back to a 2004 report. Even though the 300 areas that are tested and sampled ‘to this day’ remain hidden from public view, and can not be accessed by scientists like Dr Mike Joy.
This vital information is being ‘censored by omission’ and the Ministry for the Environment and the 16 District Councils, only issue ‘feel good’ information on the better sites, (the upper high country where there is no population or industry) never the true story in the low land areas of farming, industry and population density. In essence, making a silk purse from a sows ear!
New Zealand has pristine highland lakes and rivers, which the tourist brochures revel in, but it is the low land lakes and rivers that are horrendously degraded in this country.
And it has been only in the last 20 years with the intensification of dairy herds that our water has really lost its purity. This due to the addition of far too many cows, as the population continues to increase.
11 humans are equal to one cow in their capacity to ingest and excrete. A conservative estimate is equal to 66 million people inhabiting NZ, the same population as the UK.
With the intensity of increasing cow numbers huge amounts of urine ends up in paddocks and in the process is changing the soil chemistry and seeping down into the water and into the greater catchment area, and this is not being factored into the pollution equation.
Adding to this, commercially manufactured urea is being spread on the land from urea plants as well as the use of more phosphorous to speed up plant growth, however a by-product of super phosphate is cadmium. NZ is now dangerously close to toxifying its soils, plant life and live stock with excess cadmium that ends up stored in the kidneys and liver of live stock, that if the animals are over 18 months of age – it is illegal to sell kidneys and liver for eating. (This is news to me!)
NOTE: New Zealand children are already exceeding the European levels of cadmium from our food chain
Scientists here in NZ like their counterparts worldwide are reluctant or prohibited from speaking out on environment or health concerns, for fear of losing their funding, or losing their job. They are under the hammer to keep their mouth firmly shut! Such is the power of the commercial imperative!
Treasury, which is the tail that wags the dog in this country is bloated with economists and Mike posits the idea that if we could have another department alongside it full of ecologists, we would strike a dynamic balance.
Mike says that what is happening in nature is that the fauna are now acting as the canary in the coal mine.
The tiny white bait (inanga) in our streams are being seen as the indicators of the health of our water ways and they are all being threatened, 4 out of 5 are now on the endangered list, same for fresh water crayfish and our eels, and the eel story Mike tells is near on bizzare in the extreme.
KPMG, one of the largest professional services companies on our planet, states in a new report that New Zealand has 5 years to clean up our clean green image, or we will lose it!”
Dr Mike Joy: The true story of New Zealand’s ecological status.
Ecologist Mike Joy’s unsanitised views of the sorry state of our fresh waterways make him a target of vitriol. But he’s not about to change his tune…If the pollutants that leach through our intensively farmed soils and into lowland rivers such as the Selwyn made the water run red, we’d quickly grasp the scale of the problem, says Joy. Instead, the water at Coe’s Ford – a spot where he spent blissful days as a Christchurch schoolboy in the 1960s and 70s, and where he now stands as one of New Zealand’s loudest environmental whistleblowers – is polluted by invisible toxins. READ MORE
Now see PM John Key make a complete fool of himself by denying the raw stats quoted by the interviewer from Joy’s research… even claiming we are 100% pure! The denial continues.
2016 is here. And with a vengeance.
“Vengeance is mine” allegedly sayeth the lord.
You could say the same thing about Mother Nature.
Because when any creature defies the Laws of Nature, the grace and good-will of Mother Nature issues a courtesy-warning, and our insticts and intellect can pick it up loud and clear: it’s called “danger.”
And when that danger is recognized, all manner of evasive or problem-solving tactics and strategies can be devised and deployed.
But when danger is not recognized, and warnings ignored,the outcome is “written” so to speak, almost “predestined” by God and/or Nature itself:
Mother Natures final notice of terminal error.
For almost 5 years now, according to Japanese and other scientists, 300 metric tons of intensely radioactive plutonium water has been pouring relentlessly into the pacific ocean, from the THREE nuclear power plants STILL BURNING at Fukushima. In other words, to date, 529,500…