Tag Archives: Makarora

Workers report that nothing is alive now … no birds, no insects, nothing! … at recently 1080’d Wilkin River Vlly, Mt Aspiring Ntl Park

This is truly disturbing, especially on the heels of yesterday’s post and the revelations from the Taupo area where a hunter reports the same after SIXTY PLUS YEARS of 1080 treatment. The poison simply is not working, and worse it is decimating our native birds. Kea are nearing extinction (here also) and remember this post also about the 10K birds killed in one drop. When is this madness going to be looked at with independent eyes, independent research and an eye for alternatives. They are aerially treating areas that could be easily trapped while saying they only aerially treat inaccessible places.

Note: this post since published has had 14K shares on FB in one week (currently as at 12/11/19 it is 20K) … at which point the pro poisoners are responding with comments it is not true. The person who provided the info is 100% bonafide & reliable I can assure you. The truth is coming out. I encourage you, if you have similar ‘silent’ stories do contact me using the contact form…. the accumulation of other sightings provides more evidence that 1080 is not conserving our natives & is also killing our non natives. The latter is by design of course although DoC is not outright telling you that. The plan is to totally eliminate all non natives, part of the UN biodiversity insanity.

RELATED: NZ’s Silent Forests – Where have the Birds Gone? 
also: https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/?s=birds+1080


MAKARORA – THE AFTERMATH

By Carol Sawyer

The Makarora area of Mt Aspiring National Park was aerially 1080-poisoned on 15 October, 2019 – the Wilkin, Fish, Blue, Cameron, Makarora and Young Valleys.

Yesterday I was told that the old six-bunk forestry hut at Top Forks, Wilkin River Valley, is being restored, and the workers restoring it are living there while it is restored. They say there is absolutely nothing left alive up there. It is as silent as the grave…. no birds, no insects, NOTHING !

Extraordinarily, even though the area was poisoned only two weeks ago there are NO warning signs on any of the DoC online track information on the Young Valley Track, Cameron Valley Track, Blue-Young Valley Track, etc! There will be dead carcasses and baits in the streams and rivers. Innocent tourist trampers from overseas will drink from the streams.

https://www.doc.govt.nz/…/thin…/tracks/wilkin-valley-tracks/

https://www.doc.govt.nz/…/thi…/tracks/blue-young-link-track/

https://www.doc.govt.nz/…/thin…/tracks/cameron-valley-track/

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‘Way-to-Go” helicopter crossing Makarora River during 1080 poison operation – Photo Carol Sawyer

Find further posts on 1080 by using ‘categories’, the drop down box to the left of the page.

More on the disposal of 1080 in our landfills

The Whanganui item in this is the gob smacker. Unlined hole, old wetlands reserve turned landfill, undisclosed to public by all appearances, right dab next to a PRIMARY SCHOOL! How irresponsible is THAT? … EWR.

From NO to 1080 use in NZ FB page

1080 poison (Sodium Monofluoroacetate) is a hazardous chemical that is repeatedly dumped in New Zealand’s landfill sites (official and unofficial) without consideration for the potential harm. Contrary to some claims, 1080 does not easily breakdown into ‘harmless by-products’: one teaspoon of the poison can kill and harm as many as a hundred adults. It is highly lethal, stable in water, disperses readily through the environment, and in some conditions remains poisonous for months, if not years. For instance, in March 2000, 20 tonnes of mixed, unwanted 1080 poison baits, between 8-20 years old, were buried in West Coast farmland. When tested a few months later, the substance was still highly toxic.

Official Informatiom Act responses have revealed that for decades, Auckland, Canterbury, Winton, Whanganui and Marton landfills have all been recipients of tonnes of unwanted 1080 poison. This is because according the manufacturers, the cereal baits have a limited shelf-life (how convenient for their profit margins?). Apparently, depending upon storage environments, damp and mould can affect the palatability and structure of the poison baits, which can mean they are unstable, unsafe and unsuitable to be distributed aerially via the helicopter hoppers. To summarise some of our findings:

• In August 1996, over 12 tonnes of unwanted highly toxic 1080 poison baits were buried in a purpose-dug pit in a managed landfill site at Winton, central Southland. Weeks after the burial, toxic 1080 was still present in some of the groundwater samples (despite unreliable testing methodology).

• 66 tonnes of 1080 poison baits, originally intended for Makarora aerial pest control operation (2015) were unused because of the poor weather. The spoiled poison baits were sent to a Manawatu-Whanganui landfill site (Probably, Marton).

• A storage shed in Haast was swamped during recent flooding, and the rising river water damaged over 16 tonnes of toxic 1080 bait. This week, that poison has been buried at…you guessed it, Marton.

• In February 2018, 600kgs of 1080 poison baits was transported from the Whitianga storage site (within a residential area) to a North Auckland landfill.

• Also in 1996, in Whanganui (near the 1080 poison factory) 61 tonnes of 1080 poison cereal bait was buried in a shallow, unlined hole at the landfill site, now known as Balgownie Reserve. Tragically, this area was previously a precious wetland of historical and cultural significance. A primary school is situated next door.

There are many other stories waiting to be exposed. Meanwhile, none of New Zealand’s authorities adheres to international guidelines on toxic waste disposal, including the requirement to monitor community health in these areas. And concerns are repeatedly raised about potential harmful affects from the storage, disposal and aerial distribution of 1080 poison.

In the USA and in Europe, authorities are waking-up to their responsibilities to citizens. New funding is being provided to enable the costly clean-up of old toxic dump sites, and this involves specialists digging up the hazardous waste and disposing of it safely. Public health is a priority.

It’s bad enough to distribute tonnes of 1080 poison baits over thousands of hectares—66 tonnes of the poison baits could kill or seriously harm almost the whole population of New Zealand. It’s another thing however to dump this amount of lethally toxic substance into one shallow hole. What impact could a highly concentrated amount of this toxic chemical have on the health of nearby, unknowing, small communities?

When is the New Zealand Government going to face up to the magnitude of our ongoing soil and water contamination, stop the dumping of hazardous waste and start the crucial clean-up operations?

WANAKA is the 1080 POISONED CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

By Carol Sawyer

The West Coast of the South Island is generally thought of as being the most heavily 1080-poisoned area of New Zealand. However some of us have been thinking about that lately and have realized that, in fact, Wanaka and the Upper Clutha probably take that title, sadly.

You see, we have an extra problem animal (for farmers) in the Wanaka area, and that is rabbits, so farms and stations all round the Upper Clutha get aerially bombed with 1080 for rabbits. This is in addition to the onslaught from DoC and OSPRI for possums, rats and stoats on our farmland and in our mountain valleys.

We DID fight them off in 2015. It can be done! OSPRI had advertised plans to aerially 1080 poison DoC-managed land on Mt Roy and they were sent away with their tail between their legs and never came back.

Luggate was a two year battle, 2017 to 2019, It went ahead despite best efforts to stop it, but on a greatly reduced scale.

DoC stuffed up the aerial 1080 drop at Makarora in 2015, but unfortunately they came back in 2017 and did manage to dump poison on 38,000 ha – the Wilkin, Young, Makarora, and Blue River Valleys.

If you stand on top of Mt Iron in Wanaka and turn 360 degrees you will be looking at these aerially 1080-poisoned valleys – Matukituki, Makarora, Mt Gold, Timaru Creek (Lake Hawea), Luggate, Cardrona. Add to this most of the stations, many of the farms (deer, cattle, sheep ) and even some of the vineyards, and this is one poisoned place ! Aerial Pindone, and 1080 and Pindone thrown off quad bikes, in our public spaces, like Mt Iron itself just recently, can be added to the mix.

From the top of Mt Iron, Wanaka – Photos Carol Sawyer

More photos here:

https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/2211716829108631

and here:

https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/1980337245579925

and here:

https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/1975911229355860

Mt Roy, a 1080 battle that we won. That is a story in itself, which I shall tell in a different post:

https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/1582087148738272

Here is a great video from the top of Mt Iron – so sad that we are looking at all this beauty and know how poisoned it all is 

 

PHOTOS:

Header image above: Mt Roy and Mt Alpha, from the top of Mt Iron, Wanaka – Photo Carol Sawyer

Mt Maude, from the top of Mt Iron. Timaru Creek and the mountains behind Hawea in the distance - Photo Carol Sawyer
Mt Maude, from the top of Mt Iron. Timaru Creek and the mountains behind Hawea in the distance – Photo Carol Sawyer

 

Looking up Lake Wanaka towards Makarora, from the top of Mt Iron - Photo Carol Sawyer
Looking up Lake Wanaka towards Makarora, from the top of Mt Iron – Photo Carol Sawyer

 

DoC sends 116 TONNES 1080 poison to landfill, 2016-2019 … 66 TONNES to the Manawatu-Whanganui region

By Carol Sawyer

This includes 66 tonnes of 1080 baits targeted for the 33,000 ha aerial 1080 drop at Makarora in 2015.

The pre-feed was dropped at Makarora but the poison was not. Bad timing, and initial faulty flight charts, (by HeliOtago Ltd presumably), meant the drop was postponed and then foiled by the onset of winter.

See story here:

https://www.facebook.com/carol.sawyer.3511/posts/1712843725662613

DoC Wanaka announced the poisoning would happen the following Spring but this never eventuated. The poison was dumped. They have conveniently left this out of the OIA response to John Veysey in February, 2019 (see attached), and pretended they haven’t kept records.

Just as well WE do !!!

The comment in the OIA response to Mr. Thompson about Makarora, February, 2017 – “No toxic bait was transported to the operation site. The transport cost from storage to landfill was $8,000” – is I think, just DoC being tricky. It was again rumoured to have been stored at the storage shed at Haast. This is backed up by the fact that the poison operation had been due to happen any day, but as the prefeed didn’t happen until May 27, 2015, winter had set in and they just couldn’t drop the poison.
The loading site at Cameron Flat, Makarora, would have been too dark and cold. As it was, the prefeed was done in icy conditions (see photos).

So WHY did DoC leave the 66 tonnes out of the “1080 poison to landfill” chart sent to John Veysey of Coromandel as a result of his OIA request in February this year? The OIA response only admits to 34.31 tonnes of 1080 poison to landfill. (See attached)

Add in the 66 tonnes from 2015/16 and the 16.2 tonnes of flood-damaged 1080 poison baits from Haast this year (as stated in a recent OIA response to David Haynes), and we have a massive 116.51 tonnes 1080 baits to landfill… admitted to by DoC anyway. Is this ALL ?!!! How much have OSPRI and regional councils dumped?

Also, where in the ‘Manawatu-Wanganui region’ were the 66 tonnes of 1080 baits dumped? At the Bonny Glen landfill at Marton again?

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RELATED POST:

https://envirowatchrangitikei.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/submission-reveals-negligence-by-authorities-regarding-leachate-disposal-2/

Is there 1080 in your landfill? According to a 2019 OIA request DoC alone has buried 100 tonnes in NZ’s landfills

“It is common practice to dump excess 1080 pellets after 1080 drops have finished (Re Stewart Island dump, see article).When 1080 toxin was first discovered in ground water the source of the toxin was traced to a landfill site above. Un-spread 1080 baits had been buried in the landfill and the toxin had leached out of the baits and seeped down into the ground water where it remained as toxic as the day it was dumped. No breakdown of the poison had taken place over all that time” … these are only DoC’s figures … “OSPRI has traditionally dropped more 1080 poison than DoC. Regional Councils account for around 12% of 1080 use too.”

(Something you likely didn’t know – see comments for a video from TVNZ’s Seven Sharp program on how an old West Coast landfill washed out to sea & back to shore again during a flood).

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By Carol Sawyer

DoC HAS BURIED ENOUGH 1080 POISON IN OUR LANDFILLS TO KILL 4.3 MILLION PEOPLE ( 2016-2018 ) – 100 TONNES OF UNUSED 1080 BAITS!!!

resized pelletsIn the past three years, it appears at least 100 tonnes of unused 1080 poison baits have been sent to landfills by the Dept of Conservation! (See OIA results below) That amount of 1080 baits contains enough 1080 poison to possibly kill the whole population of New Zealand. 1080 leaching into our groundwater, never mind the expense of trucking unused baits all round the country again. … read on.

These are only the DoC ” Battering the Birds” * programme’s figures of course. OSPRI has traditionally dropped more 1080 poison than DoC. Regional Councils account for around 12% of 1080 use too.

100 tonnes of 1080 baits contain enough pure 1080 poison ( 150kgs ) to kill between approximately 1 million and 4.3 million X 70 kg humans, and make the same number of people very ill. ( Human LD50 is 0.5 to 2 mg/kg bodyweight )

NB: “Based on fatal or near-fatal cases of human poisonings, the dangerous dose for humans is 0.5-2.0 mg/kg BW” (Negherbon 1959)

I don’t see the 600kgs, stated in the second OIA response attached, included in their latest response, 21.2.2018 ! ( see John Veysey’s letter below )

PLUS THERE ARE ANOTHER 66.6 TONNES THEY HAVEN’T INCLUDED IN THEIR OIA RESPONSE ATTACHED ( see third OIA response, included in body of post below ) – These were baits targeted for the 33,000 ha aerial 1080 drop at Makarora in 2015.

The pre-feed was dropped at Makarora but the poison was not. Bad timing, and initial faulty flight charts, ( by HeliOtago Ltd presumably ), meant the drop was postponed and then foiled by the onset of winter.

DoC Wanaka announced the poisoning would happen the following Spring but this never eventuated. The poison was dumped. They have conveniently left this out of the latest OIA response, and pretended they haven’t kept records.

Just as well WE do !!!

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LETTER TO EDITOR, OTAGO DAILY TIMES, JULY 2018 – NOT PUBLISHED

FB post, August 16, 2018 : John Veysey of Coromandel sent me this letter by email today. It wasn’t published so I will post it here as it is well worth reading.

“Dear Sir,

A pile of 1080 pellets was found dumped on Stewart Island. This evoked shock and horror from the local MP, Sarah Dowie.

Which only goes to show how effectively DOC has covered their tracks in the past.

It is common practice to dump excess 1080 pellets after 1080 drops have finished.

When 1080 toxin was first discovered in ground water the source of the toxin was traced to a landfill site above. Un-spread 1080 baits had been buried in the landfill and the toxin had leached out of the baits and seeped down into the ground water where it remained as toxic as the day it was dumped. No breakdown of the poison had taken place over all that time.

It is understood by contractors that, at the end of every 1080 drop, there will likely be excess toxic baits to be got rid of. You never hear of any baits being returned to the factory. For decades now council-run, public landfill sites have been used to dump unwanted 1080 baits. These dumps are invisible to the naked eye but can be traced through the paper-work.

A 1080 drop in our area ( Coromandel ) last year left nearly a tonne of unused 1080 when it was finished. DOC’s hazardous substance tracking form shows us that not all of this was dumped. 300 kgs was given to a Quenton Potae, a private individual living in Kennedy Bay just over the hill. The left-over 600kgs was dumped in a landfill in Auckland.

Quenton Potae is not the only local private individual to have been given 1080 pellets in our area in the last 12 months. A group of life-style-blockers just up the road from us applied for and were given 100’s of kgs of 1080 pellets to chuck around their properties. Most of them are absentee-landowners whose annual contribution for pest control will be considerably reduced with the free 1080. The cost for those of us living downstream has been life-changing.

During the last 40 years of my life I have managed to enjoy a sub-poverty-line income by sustaining myself on wild meat. To-day my way of life is not possible. Wild meat is no longer safe to eat.

John Veysey

Coromandel “

stewart 75 kg dumped
A large quantity of 1080 found dumped on Stewart Island in 2018 (see link above)
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Signs like these are common in New Zealand, farmers throw 1080 around with no with-holding periods for stock grazing the paddocks which raises questions about the  presence of 1080 in our food chain  Photo Credit: Carol Sawyer (not the farm mentioned in the article)

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And another 66 tonnes !!

This was on FishnHunt Forum, April 1, 2017

“Dear Mr Thompson

OFFICIAL INFORMATION REQUEST

I refer to your official information request dated 22 January 2017, asking the following questions about the 2015 cancelled Makarora 1080 operation:

  1. What was the financial cost of the 1080 baits that were dumped from this abandoned operation?

DOC does periodically need to dispose of 1080 bait because it has chemically or physically broken down and therefore is no longer fit for purpose. Following the cancellation of the Makarora operation, the cost of the toxic bait disposed of in this condition was $82,334. (1)

  1. How much bait in weight was dumped from the abandoned 2015 Makarora poison operation?

Approximately 66,000 kilograms of 1080-laced bait was planned to be used for the Makarora operation…………..

  1. Where was the unused 1080 poisoned baits dumped?

(1) Bulls..t ! At $3.13 per kg the cost is $206,580 !

Disposal of toxic bait is done in accordance with the appropriate HSNO (Hazardous Substances and New Organisms) regulations using landfills consented for this purpose. The toxic bait intended for the Makarora operation was disposed to landfill in the Manawatu- Wanganui region.

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https://www.facebook.com/100008110062331/posts/2312196039060709/

 EWR Note: Whilst it’s acknowledged there will be landfills that do dispose of the poisonous baits correctly and according to regulations,  can we be assured of 100% foolproof protection of our water supplies? Really? In Marton alone which had its landfill size quadrupled (or close to quintupled) in 2015, the leachate was being trucked & disposed of in the WWTP in keeping originally with a gentleman’s agreement at the time of sale by Council to a private owner. Locals noticed that the trips by the trucks to the plant were happening at night time even & far more frequently than was officially claimed, too much for the plant to cope with. See Comment Regarding Leachate Disposal at the link. The consent is to be reconsidered in March 2019 note. A google search reveals little change reported by mainstream since 2015.

*DoC’s Predator Free programme is known as “Battle for the Birds” when in fact they are killing all varieties, natives included, within the drop zones. Remember the incidence documented about the LandCare scientist’s kill estimate of 10K birds in a single aerial 1080 drop in 2002.


For further articles on 1080, use categories at left of the news page.

If you are new to the 1080 poisoning program, a must watch 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 to make your own informed decision on this matter.

If you are pro poisoning of the environment, EnvirowatchRangitikei is not the place to espouse your opinions. Mainstream would be the place to air those. This is a venue for sharing the independent science you won’t of course find there.

We don’t endorse violence.

Rescue Helicopters Used to Poison Deer – Tourists Speak Out (the Graf Boys at Mt Aspiring)

Published on Mar 30, 2017

Helicopters used to save human lives are hired to poison deer in the Mt Aspiring National Park.

It’s the peak of the tourism season, and the Department of Conservation aerially spread 1080 poison bait across 38,000 hectares of the waterways the visiting trampers are drinking from. Hear what they have to say … [WATCH VIDEO]


Thank you to the Graf brothers for another excellent record of what is happening with this poison in our once clean green land.

The disturbing thing about this use of the rescue helicopters is, how well cleaned are they before carrying people? I have read from other bloggers of an incident where a plane was left on a grass runway overnight before being cleaned & sheep grazing around it overnight died. Okay this is only anecdotal evidence however enough to ring the warning bells. This surely cannot be a 100% safe practice carrying both deadly poison AND sick people.

In the case of Otago there was controversy in October last year (2016) when concerns about this use of rescue helicopters were raised.

Otago Rescue Helicopter Trust manager Ken Franklin said “the trust had two dedicated rescue helicopters which were used only for rescue missions.

Two back-up helicopters owned by Helicopter Otago, which the trust used when its main two were busy, were being used to drop 1080. “ SOURCE  This was also amidst allegations of alleged threats from 1080 protesters.

On that note, it’s reiterated here, we don’t in any way endorse violence or violent protest. But we do believe that people have a right to the truth. With correct information informed choices can be made. And bear in mind regarding allegations of threats of violence, corporations think nothing of lying as experts explain in the the excellent exposé of corporate behaviour ‘The Corporation’ movie (viewable HERE). Watch it and educate yourself.

Visit our 1080 pages at the main menu for further information on 1080, see especially the sub page for a long and comprehensive list of links and resources. Use ‘Categories’ to find articles on the topic.

See the TheGrafBoys YT channel and website for more videos. Educate yourself on 1080 poisoning. See also http://1080science.co.nz/

Use the share buttons to help spread the word on all the untruths we have been told. Thank you!

EnvirowatchRangitikei

Header image Photo Credit: with thanks, Carol Sawyer

Tributaries that flow into the Blue Pools & Lake Wanaka poisoned with 1080 – no signs out & horrified tourists oblivious to risks of swimming & ingesting the water

POISONING THE TOURISTS

By Carol Sawyer  23 February 2017

We did a great job of poisoning the tourists yesterday. The NZ Department of Conservation and HeliOtago are to be commended! ( Don’t get upset – I am being ironic)

At Makarora, Mt Aspiring National Park, an area of unsurpassed beauty on the eastern side of the Southern Alps, yesterday, 23 February, 2017, HeliOtago dropped 76 tonnes of one of the world’s deadliest poisons, Compound 1080, in a DoC “Battle for Our Birds” operation. 1080 has no antidote.

The Blue Pools Walk is a short walk accessed from the main highway, State Highway 6, and is extraordinarily popular with tourists who want a break and a cool bush-walk after driving over the Haast Pass from South Westland. They also often want a swim on a hot day, and I am told tour-bus drivers encourage them to swim and to jump off the bridge at the Blue Pools. Link: https://www.lakewanaka.co.nz/explore/blue-pools-track

carol-loading-zn-1080-op-23-2-17-makarora-mt-aspiring-np-nz-heliotago-contractor
Loading zone for the 1080 operation on the (23rd Feb 2017)  Makarora, Mt Aspiring, National Park, NZ. HeliOtago is the helicopter contractor    Photo: Carol Sawyer

The loadout zone at Cameron Flat is seven minutes up the road from the little village of Makarora.

“Yesterday morning the river directly above the Blue Pools was poisoned, along with the rest of the area – Makarora, Wilkin, Young, Blue Valleys, and all the streams that flow into the Makarora River and also end up in Lake Wanaka.”

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1080 is a broad-spectrum poison: it kills all oxygen-breathing animals and organisms

By 10.00 am two security officers had cleared the track to the Blue Pools. One had no gloves on, so she just kicked the baits to the side of the track. The other had gloves so he picked them up and tossed them into the undergrowth. It wasn’t much of an effort. One tourist told me he had seen two baits on the track and another showed me film of baits at the side of the track.

“1080 is a broad-spectrum poison: it kills all oxygen-breathing animals and organisms. This alone is reason enough to cease dispersing it into the environment. It indiscriminately kills and contaminates everything from the insects that underpin the native fauna food chain to precious native birds, dogs and farm animals.”
Dr Meriel Watts

this run was directly over the edge of the bush and the makarora river.jpg
Helicopter run directly over the edge of the bush and the Makarora River, Sth Island NZ Photo : Peter Hartley

A Makarora local, who was on the track at the time they were dropping the 1080 poison yesterday morning, told me the helicopter that went over his head zig-zagged above the Blue Pools, dropping 1080 poison, and the baits went into the water directly above the Blue Pools. The chopper also went along the edge of the Makarora River, along the bushline, dropping 1080 baits so they were flung out into the Makarora River too. None of the streams had designated buffer zones and so they were poisoned directly, BUT the Wilkin, Young and Makarora Rivers were supposed to have buffer zones. Therefore at least one, the designated bait-free zone around the Makarora River, was poisoned, even if unintentionally.

car park at blue pools makarora nz 23.2.17 not deterring tourists evidence.jpg
The carpark at the Blue Pools walk, Makarora, NZ, 23 Feb 2017 where the 1080 drop occurred … tourists undeterred. Bait was clearly visible with minimal effort to make it safe. To a child it would have looked like a lolly scramble it was said.  Photo: Carol Sawyer

I spent most of yesterday afternoon at the entrance to the Blue Pools track. So did Shane Wilson and his father Ron. There was a constant stream of tourists. As they went in and as they came out we asked them if they knew about 1080 poison, and when the inevitable “No” was the reply, we handed them an explanatory ( and completely factual, and non-emotive ) flier, and then answered their many questions.

They were stunned – seriously ! There were no signs saying the poison had been dropped that morning. They didn’t understand that it was an aerial drop. They didn’t know what all the helicopters were doing.( There were seven helicopters swinging buckets and it sounded at times like I imagine the Vietnam War must have sounded ). They asked me : Is there a fire ? Are they mining ? Are they building something in the forest ?

One man, in appalled disbelief, came up to me and asked if he could show me film he had taken of a helicopter ” so close to people !” He had a young child on his shoulders. The helicopter was a speck on a ridge and THAT shocked him ? Those choppers had been swinging out so much closer to people than he had witnessed !

One young Swedish man was extremely distressed. He had swum in the water and was very upset when he found out about the poison. I said “Look you will be fine. You swam in it. You didn’t drink it”. Then he said he had been drinking it !

So had his girlfriend – from the Czech Republic.

I spoke to Indians, Brazilians, French, Germans, Scandinavians, Czechs, Danes, Dutch, most of whom understood English, or at least one of their number did and translated for the others, English, Americans, Australians, Canadians. ( Not, however, the Chinese. Malaysians, etc – I tried to talk to them but most didn’t speak English and went away as happily oblivious to poison as when they arrived !)

It was quite a business explaining why the government was dropping 1080 poison and why it was totally unnecessary but – when you tell people we drop 90% of the world’s supply and that it is killing EVERYTHING, not just the species they want to eradicate, and that stoats are not interested in 1080 baits ( when speaking to tourists ‘weasel’ seems to be an understood word, but ‘stoats’ not – so if you say ‘an animal like a weasel’, they mostly understand ), and that it is banned in many parts of the world, and that it is poisoning our land and we can no longer eat our wild food and that we have been dropping it for over 60 years and that we have had rats for 700 years and stoats for 150 and, and, and…..

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Shane Wilson‘s ‘1080 drum’ with a roadkill possum doe that he came across en route, on top – beautiful fur, freshly killed, and undamaged – a drawcard for curious tourists. I couldn’t stop stroking her. She was all warm in the sun. She had a lucky escape ! She wouldn’t have known a thing, not like the poor possies dying in Makarora in agony right now ! Photo: Carol Sawyer

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Shane Wilson’s Dad, Ron ( they had driven four hours from Otautau to be there, setting off at 1.30 am ), and Ray Thompson, ( who had driven for three hours from from Whataroa ). Some anti-1080 people show total passion and dedication.  Photo: Carol Sawyer

What surprised me was the intense interest. I was watchful for glazed-over eyes and polite departures but no… the questions poured in and so many people said ” What can we do to help ?!!” An Englishman, who sounded a bit like Prince Charles, was looking at the loadout zone and he said to me ” I hate this sort of thing ! ”

When I was asked how they could help, I said to people: “Take photos of those helicopters. Explain to your friends on social media. Write letters to major NZ newspapers, stating your shock and upset and disbelief at seeing what is happening in a land you regarded as clean and green and 100% pure. Don’t write to the NZ government – the letter will end up in the bin. A letter to a newspaper, from an international visitor”, I said, “is worth more than 100 letters from New Zealanders”

So many said ” But we thought you were clean, green… “

I told them about the film “Poisoning Paradise”. I told them to look it up on Google. I said it had won four international film festival awards and it has not been allowed to be shown on National TV in NZ.

I told them to go to the websites and Facebook pages on the flier I gave them.

I know some of them will – they were truly SHOCKED !

What is the matter with you, Maggie Barry and the Dept of Conservation? How dare you drop 1080 poison in our rivers and not tell tourists NOT to drink the water – only one hour later !!!!!!! NO signs, NO staff, NO care !

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 “Animal Control Products” ( recently given the more obscure name “Orillion” ), the NZ state-owned factory, has a 1080 warning label which states ” Avoid pollution of any water supply with pellets” and states that the pellets are harmful to aquatic organisms.

PHOTOS by Carol Sawyer & Peter Hartley

SOURCE