Poisoning Paradise – Ecocide in New Zealand

Makers of a new documentary have provided incontrovertible evidence that the continued widespread use of highly toxic Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) is having a devastating effect on New Zealand’s fauna.

The film’s shocking revelations about the effects of 1080 are in stark contrast to the Clean, Green, 100% Pure image that NZ tries to present to the world. The reality couldn’t be further from the truth.

New Zealand is the world’s largest user of 1080.

The continued, widespread use of this poison should be a factor that Eco-tourists and environmentally minded visitors take into consideration before deciding to visit the country.

From Stuff NZ

“New Zealand’s long-term use of 1080 is poisoning forest ecosystems and could drive birds and insect populations to extinction, a new documentary says…..

About 300 people packed Hokitika’s Regent Theatre on Friday night for the premiere of Poisoning Paradise — Ecocide in New Zealand.

Hamilton-based film-makers Clyde and Steve Graf said it was a tragedy the documentary had to be made.

Largely shot in bush areas after aerial 1080 drops, the documentary “goes behind the wall of the forest and shows people the other side of the story”, Clyde Graf said.

It shows falcons and other birds dying, freshwater crayfish fighting over submerged 1080 pellets, deer and pigs rotting in creeks, eels eating dead animals in waterways, dead and dying stock, and weka and bush robins picking at 1080 carcasses and baits.

Scientists, university lecturers, doctors, hunters and farmers highlight their concerns about the impact of 1080 on wildlife populations, the forest ecosystem and human health.

The Graf brothers worked on the film for eight months after seeing a weka picking at a 1080 carcass in Kahurangi National Park.

“We are asking people who care about New Zealand to sit through this to get the full picture about 1080 before they make up their minds,” Clyde Graf said.

Renowned aviator Sir Tim Wallis thanked the Graf brothers for their work after attending the premiere.

“What we have seen tonight is what is really happening. Thankfully, they have recorded it all, because otherwise it will remain a secret,” he said.

The chairwoman of TB-Free West Coast, Helen Lash, said the movie was “thought-provoking and raised valid questions”.

“I have concerns about the secondary poisoning of species, particularly after seeing freshwater crayfish fighting over 1080 baits. DOC will probably not be too happy about it, because it undermines what they do,” Lash said.

However, the film was one side of the 1080 argument. Farmers struggling with bovine tuberculosis would go backwards if the aerial 1080 programme was removed, she said.

Lash said she would report to the Animal Health Board (AHB) this week on the documentary and would recommend the board view it.

“There is no point for any group to put their heads in the sand over this. We all have to sit down, look at the information and start working our way through it.”

DOC communications advice manager Rory Newsam said DOC and AHB representatives attended Friday’s premiere.

“They have reported that the movie raised no fresh claims or evidence. Basically, the Environmental Risk Management Authority has approved 1080 for use; it is safe to use and DOC is going to use it.”

For more information on 1080 usage in New Zealand see link Wikipedia from which the following has been taken

The use of 1080 in New Zealand as a pesticide is a contentious issue, with the majority of the debate occurring between conservationists and hunters. Concerns are also raised about security of potable water supplies in areas where 1080 is applied.

Worldwide, New Zealand is the largest user of 1080 (sodium fluoroacetate). 1080 is a commonly used pesticide since it is very effective on mammals and New Zealand has no native land mammals apart from two species of bat. The first trials were carried out in New Zealand in 1954, and by 1957 its use had become widespread. 1080 baits are used through ground based and aerial application to control possums (an animal pest introduced from Australia) and other introduced mammalian pests.[1]

New Zealand’s unique fauna and flora are endangered by the rapid spread of possums, stoats and rats.[2] Also, the possum is a vector for tuberculosis so possum numbers are controlled to prevent its spread amongst cattle and deer herds. As the possum is from the eastern states of Australia and is a mainly arboreal forager, it has never developed a resistance to sodium fluoroacetate.[citation needed]

While the Department of Conservation and the Animal Health Board [3] favour the effectiveness of aerial 1080 application,[4] critics of the application of 1080 claim: “agencies increasingly use large scale aerial applications to cut costs”.[citation needed] Opposition from hunting groups and threats by other opponents have made local agencies responsible for the use of the poison hire guards to protect their staff.[5] Forest and Bird, the largest conservation organisation in New Zealand, advocate the use of 1080 for controlling all mammalian pests.[6]