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With NO community consultation & in spite of health warnings by an ag-pilot a 1080 aerial operation at Luggate is soon to go ahead

By Carol Sawyer


OSPRI Programme Manager, Southern South Island, Eric Chagnon, responded to Tracey Morrow of Luggate today… see comment highlighted in screenshot. (Tracey had written a long email outlining all the concerns about this drop, which I will post up separately). The advertisement for the 1080 drop was in Thursday’s ‘Wanaka Sun’. His response states “We are consulting with landowners and other affected parties”. Well there are only two landowners, who have not said a ‘dicky bird’, and a whole small town less than a kilometre away which Eric is IGNORING, so I am not sure who the “other affected parties” are.

He also says, in justification for non-consultation,

“This (drop) area is much smaller than previously planned aerials”.

Is there a sort of hectare limit below which you do not need to consult? Fascinating. This is a new one!

This man needs to front up… and NOW.

On 10 August, 2017, ‘Wanaka Sun’ (yes, this debacle has been going on for two years) Eric Chagnon’s predecessor, Brent Rohloff, wrote …

“Consultation with the Luggate community would be conducted “well before” the drop was due to be completed.”

Eric Chagnon also received the following communication from Cherilyn Walthew (Luggate 1080 Action Group) today:

“Dear Eric,

It is with alarm that I read of OSPRI’s intentions, in the Wanaka Sun, to start dropping poison around the settlement of Luggate as of the 1st June, 2019.

To date, OSPRI have not fronted for genuine consultation with the Public as was promised back in 2017 by one of your predecessors.

There are still a number of questions that the community would like you to answer prior to the commencement of your poisoning operation and given that you and your Organization appear reluctant to come and discuss this, we would like to take this opportunity, on the 1 year anniversary of your organization walking out of the last promised community consultation, to invite you to a genuine consultation event.

We are aware that your staff have made claims of being “ambushed” in the past with our questions and there have been other claims that you were concerned for the health and safety of your staff. These are very distressing claims and I can assure you there is absolutely no threat to your staff from our community. However we will also look to invite a number of other people to attend the consultation meeting including MPs, local councillors, DoC representatives, Police etc. to ensure that you feel fully comfortable in your environment.

In addition, we are including a copy of the questions that have been raised by the community in advance of our requested meeting so, that you can prepare yourselves appropriately.

We are aware that the 1080 discussion has been subject to many claims of “misinformation”, particularly around these aerial operations. Therefore, in good faith, we will appoint an independent “fact-checker” to adjudicate on the answers.

We are happy to take on the administration of arranging the meeting and co-ordinate the additional guest list if you would let us know a date that will suit you and the relevant staff members you require to attend. We will be happy to try and accommodate any date after the 11th of June. I realize this is after the date you had indicated commencement for this operation. However, had you come to us earlier, we may have been in a position to arrange things a bit quicker.

In view of the lack of facilities in Luggate, our suggested venues would be either the Hawea Flat Community Hall which we can secure at no charge, and is available on either Monday evenings or Thursday evenings after 7pm. Additionally, we are checking dates that the Lake Wanaka Centre is available and will forward you some dates as soon as possible. The Lake Wanaka Centre will have an associated charge and we would expect you to incur this cost as part of your community consultation budget, if this is the preferred venue.

There has been some reluctance in the past by your organization and associated parties to answer these same questions. However it is a matter of public urgency that you do so before irreparable damage is caused by your actions, as was nearly the case in 2017 with the residential water supplies.

This list of questions has been generated by the wider community at a gathering in Luggate on the 21st of May. This was coordinated by local volunteers and is a community initiative under the collective name Luggate 1080 Action Group.

Before commencing the poison operation, we formally ask that in the spirit of human decency, you answer these questions first.

Given the urgency of this subject, please respond with your intentions by close of business on Tuesday, 4th of June so, that may continue with arranging the necessary details and ensure invites are put out to the relevant parties.

Yours sincerely and on behalf of people representing

Luggate 1080 Action Group

Cherilyn Walthew
Tracey Morrow
Carol Sawyer
Kirstin Dana
Joel Lund”

Eric Chagnon, a man of few words, responded today:

“In response to your email and to a voice mail message from Carol Sawyer left earlier today, I confirm that there will be NO aerial operation going on in Luggate VCZ over the Queen’s Birthday weekend.”

Questions arising from the public meeting held at Luggate are attached to this post.

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