On August 2019, Dr Pollard sent an open letter to Mike Slater, Deputy-Director General of Operations for the New Zealand Dept of Conservation.
This letter summarised the oft-repeated unscientific claims made by DoC as they present a ‘case’ to try to justify their inhumane aerial 1080 poison operations – in this case, Arthur’s Pass, South Island.
Some parts of this public land had never been poisoned before, so like Makarora in 2017, it would have been an excellent research ‘control area’ to compare the potential benefits to our ecosystems of NOT using this indiscriminate, inhumane toxin. But now that opportunity is lost, on November 25th 2019, 23,000 ha of Arthur’s Pass were aerially poisoned with 1080, as were some surrounding areas. Further aerial 1080 poisoning operations in the surrounding areas are also imminent (see yellow areas on pesticide summary map below).
In this scientific evidence-based letter, Dr Pollard clearly points out that:
1) DoC’s own so-called ‘pest’ control monitoring shows that there is no evidence of any pest ‘problem’.
2) There is also no evidence of the claimed ‘benefits’ of aerial poisoning operations such as this.
3) Furthermore, the risks are not fully acknowledged in any assessment. These risks include: contamination of our food chain, including drinking water; death of native species, secondary and by-kill of other species.
This is NOT an isolated case for Arthur’s Pass – Official Information Act responses from many other poison operations – including the one proposed for Mount Pirongia, central North Island – also have presented facts that prove DoC have NO evidence to support their claims that aerial poison operations are a necessity.
But sadly that does not currently stop the Government from over-ruling any public or professional objectives in order to carry out those poisonings.
1080 poison is an endocrine disruptor and in even minute traces can potentially cause miscarriage, infertility, heart conditions and harm to the unborn child. There have been NO public health studies into the potential long-term impact from a sub lethal dose of 1080 poison – for humans or any other species.
Dr Pollard’s Open Letter to Mr Slater is available here:
New Zealand is a leader in government use of artificial intelligence (AI). It is part of a global network of countries that use predictive algorithms in government decision making, for anything from the optimal scheduling of public hospital beds to whether an offender should be released from prison, based on their likelihood of reoffending, or the efficient processing of simple insurance claims.
But the official use of AI algorithms in government has been in the spotlight in recent years. On the plus side, AI can enhance the accuracy, efficiency and fairness of day-to-day decision making. But concerns have also been expressed regarding transparency, meaningful human control, data protection and bias.
In a report released today, we recommend New Zealand establish a new independent regulator to monitor and address the risks associated with these digital technologies.
There are three important issues regarding transparency.
One relates to the inspectability of algorithms. Some aspects of New Zealand government practice are reassuring. Unlike some countries that use commercial AI products, New Zealand has tended to build government AI tools in-house. This means that we know how the tools work.
But intelligibility is another issue. Knowing how an AI system works doesn’t guarantee the decisions it reaches will be understood by the people affected. The best performing AI systems are often extremely complex.
To make explanations intelligible, additional technology is required. A decision-making system can be supplemented with an “explanation system”. These are additional algorithms “bolted on” to the main algorithm we seek to understand. Their job is to construct simpler models of how the underlying algorithms work – simple enough to be understandable to people. We believe explanation systems will be increasingly important as AI technology advances.
A final type of transparency relates to public access to information about the AI systems used in government. The public should know what AI systems their government uses as well as how well they perform. Systems should be regularly evaluated and summary results made available to the public in a systematic format.
Our report takes a detailed look at how well New Zealand law currently handles these transparency issues.
New Zealand doesn’t have laws specifically tailored towards algorithms, but some are relevant in this context. For instance, New Zealand’s Official Information Act (OIA) provides a right to reasons for decisions by official agencies, and this is likely to apply to algorithmic decisions just as much as human ones. This is in notable contrast to Australia, which doesn’t impose a general duty on public officials to provide reasons for their decisions.
But even the OIA would come up short where decisions are made or supported by opaque decision systems. That is why we recommend that predictive algorithms used by government, whether developed commercially or in-house, must feature in a public register, must be publicly inspectable, and (if necessary) must be supplemented with explanation systems.
Another issue relates to human control. Some of the concerns around algorithmic decision-making are best addressed by making sure there is a “human in the loop,” with a human having final sign off on any important decision. However, we don’t think this is likely to be an adequate solution in the most important cases.
A persistent theme of research in industrial psychology is that humans become overly trusting and uncritical of automated systems, especially when those systems are reliable most of the time. Just adding a human “in the loop” will not always produce better outcomes. Indeed in certain contexts, human collaboration will offer false reassurance, rendering AI-assisted decisions less accurate.
With respect to data protection, we flag the problem of “inferred data”. This is data inferred about people rather than supplied by them directly (just as when Amazon infers that you might like a certain book on the basis of books it knows you have purchased). Among other recommendations, our report calls for New Zealand to consider the legal status of inferred data, and whether it should be treated the same way as primary data.
A final area of concern is bias. Computer systems might look unbiased, but if they are relying on “dirty data” from previous decisions, they could have the effect of “baking in” discriminatory assumptions and practices. New Zealand’s anti-discrimination laws are likely to apply to algorithmic decisions, but making sure discrimination doesn’t creep back in will require ongoing monitoring.
The report also notes that while “individual rights” — for example, against discrimination — are important, we can’t entirely rely on them to guard against all of these risks. For one thing, affected people will often be those with the least economic or political power. So while they may have the “right” not to be discriminated against, it will be cold comfort to them if they have no way of enforcing it.
There is also the danger that they won’t be able to see the whole picture, to know whether an algorithm’s decisions are affecting different sections of the community differently. To enable a broader discussion about bias, public evaluation of AI tools should arguably include results for specific sub-populations, as well as for the whole population.
A new independent body will be essential if New Zealand wants to harness the benefits of algorithmic tools while avoiding or minimising their risks to the public.
Alistair Knott, James Maclaurin and Joy Liddicoat, collaborators on the AI and Law in New Zealand project, have contributed to the writing of this piece.
NOTE: The NZ authorities do not practice the precautionary principle with the spreading of 1080 poison. In fact they are now legally allowed to drop it into your waterways without the previously required consents, even though the manufacturer’s warning says take care not to drop it into the waterways. Whilst they continue to claim it is harmless, there is much independent research that says otherwise. (See 1080science for further independent info). In light of that, in my opinion it is safer to follow the precautionary principle, that is, proceed as if there were a possible risk to your health rather than assume there is none. Since 1080 is a known teratogen I believe it is particularly important for pregnant mothers or even those who think they may be or who could be pregnant, to distance themselves from an area where 1080 is being distributed, particularly aerially because of the drift of the dust over long distances. I believe these are the concerns being raised here, and particularly also with regard to warning tourists of the risks of drinking the water, who may not be able to read the signs (if there indeed are any). Finally, of particular concern is the topography of Milford Sound. When it rains at Milford Sound, “all of the steep landscape can be considered a streambed”. EWR.
By Carol Sawyer
Bowen Falls, Milford Sound….. the water intake for supplying Milford Sound township, and all tourist boats and accommodation, is approx. 200m upstream of the Bowen Falls and approx. 100m below the 1080 poison bait drop zone, where 1080 poison baits were aerially dropped on 15 October, 2019.
See smallest map attached. The person who provided that map says:
“Blue (circle) is rough location of intake. Red is a big pipe running from intake into the hydro electric station. It creates the power. Also here is where the only filter for our drinking water is…it’s a UV filter. Then it is distributed to vessels and accommodations. Our drinking water is straight from the Bowen River valley. I have walked up the pipeline before… quite steep in places.”
The significance of all of this is that the aerial 1080 drop could possibly have contaminated the water supply. As well as that, poisoned carcasses will, as we know from experience in all aerial 1080 drops, end up in that waterway as well, also then being a source of contamination.
1)Bowen Falls – Photo Te Ara, Encyclopaedia of NZ
2)Water intake – approximate position provided.
3)Area around Milford Sound excluded from aerial 1080 poison… map provided by Dept of Conservation.
In our September 18th debate for Spectrum TV, Kaiser’s Chief of Pediatrics, Dr. Robert Riewerts, parroted Pharma’s popular canard that the Gardasil vaccine has eliminated cervical cancer in Australia—the first country to mandate the jab. This is false.
… Gardasil actually increases the risk of cervical cancer by a terrifying 44.6% among women who were exposed to HPV infection prior to vaccination.
Slide 1: Table 17 from Merck’s own clinical studies.
The table shows that Gardasil actually increases the risk of cervical cancer by a terrifying 44.6% among women who were exposed to HPV infection prior to vaccination. If anyone ever bullies you to take Gardasil, look up “Gardasil Vaccine Insert” on your cell phone to see all of the adverse events and show them this table. [From original BLA. Study 013 CSR. Table 11-88, p. 636]
Photo credit: Pixabay.com
The results of several studies suggest that women who work at night — factory workers, doctors, nurses, and police officers, for example — have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women who work during the day. Other research suggests that women who live in areas with high levels of external light at night (street lights, for example) have a higher risk of breast cancer.
Researchers think that this increase in risk is linked to melatonin levels. Melatonin is a hormone that plays a role in regulating the body’s sleep cycle. Melatonin production peaks at night and is lower during the day when your eyes register light exposure. When women work at night or if they’re exposed to external light at night, their melatonin levels tend to stay low.
From the NO to 1080 use in NZ Facebook page
From the article (image below):
“Manager of the 1080 pellet producing factory, Bill Simmons, said dumping 1080 was accepted as normal practice and there was no cause for alarm about a 22 tonne dump at Chesterfield, North of Hokitika. In Wanganui, we dumped 58 tonnes in a landfill. We lifted the bait out of the ground for assessing and in six months it had degraded by half and in 12 months it was barely detectable.”
And yet, in the SAME article, (quote)
“Scientific evidence says WATER does DESTROY 1080 and residue lasts no longer than 24 hours and it does say that after 4 inches of rain the baits are safe.”
So which is it? Does the poison ‘disappear’ after 24 hours, or hang around for over a year?
And who did that testing?
You guessed it, the New Zealand Dept of Conservation – the same people advocating its use. The conflicts of interest and the inadequate and conflicting outcomes from testing has been ongoing for decades.
1080 poison does not ‘breakdown quickly into harmless salt’ as per the propaganda. It takes a long time to break down and the process kills micro organisms that are essential for the complex ecosystems of our environment.
There is no antidote to 1080 poison. It is a known hormone disruptor and a single teaspoon of the toxic chemical can kill many adults. The sub lethal impact on many species, including humans, is entirely unknown.
SO WHICH IS IT? DOES THE POISON ‘DISAPPEAR’ AFTER 24 HOURS, OR HANG AROUND FOR OVER A YEAR?
Richard Healey says :
“Neither proposition is true. The science on this is pretty well established. Adding water to 1080 simply makes an aqueous solution. The lethality will not degrade… ever. The same can be said for contact with soils. What does eventually break down 1080 are microorganisms sometimes found in the environment.
Note the “sometimes”. In a set of laboratory experiments one researcher found that when he added 1080 to a mixture of soil and water (eight samples, from different sites around New Zealand) the lethality of the mixture gradually decayed over time. For three of the samples essentially no reduction in toxicity occurred. The breakdown rate was dramatically affected by sample temperature and slowed quickly as the temperature of the sample was reduced below 23 degrees.
1080 is biodegradable, given the presence of the right microorganisms, given the right temperature and given time. Remove any one of those three and it is a very persistent toxin indeed.
That’s precisely why DoC’s use of the phrase “biodegradable 1080“ is so dangerous, so irresponsible and so dishonest. Think of it as telling someone that it’s perfectly safe to jump out of an aeroplane – without first explaining that you should be wearing a parachute at the time.”
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.
Check out the 1080 pages at the main menu, particularly the sub tab, ‘suspected 1080 poisoning cases’. Finally, remember what the retired MD Charlie Baycroft said recently …‘if you die from 1080 poisoning, nobody will know because the Ministry of Health is bullying NZ Doctors into not testing for 1080′.
The research says the Predator Free 2050 policy is based on three flawed assumptions — that predator extermination is the best way to protect biodiversity, that we need to eradicate every stoat, rat and possum to protect biodiversity, and that complete eradication of predators is possible. This research collaboration was undertaken by Associate Professor Wayne Linklater from Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Biological Sciences and ecologist Dr Jamie Steer, who is also a Senior Biodiversity Advisor at the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
“None of these assumptions are true,” says Associate Professor Linklater. “Complete eradication of predators is technologically impossible, and biodiversity is affected more in some places by habitat decline and plant eaters than it is by predators.”
But perhaps one of the biggest issues with Predator Free 2050 is it requires eliminating select predators from complex communities of other plants, animals and humans, he says.
“This will likely lead to negative social and ecological outcomes. Eradicating some predators will cause populations of other introduced animals to erupt. Many people also have valid concerns about the safety and cruelty of predator control methods, and the policy fails to take into account Māori views on predator management as well, particularly on Māori lands.”
Predator Free 2050 could also lead to reduced public and government support for future conservation policies, says Associate Professor Linklater.
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