The Government says 1080 is the safest poison for eradicating pests from vulnerable habitats in New Zealand.
The contentious pest control was the centre of a debate on RadioLIVE’s Morning Talk, where spokespeople from both sides weighed in on the issue.
Activists against 1080 say not enough research has been undertaken over its safety, alleging it contaminates the country’s water supply, makes New Zealanders sick, and kills animals like deer and native birds.
“The consequences of spreading poison over New Zealand’s environment and into our water supplies is certainly contributing to ill health and death,” environmental lawyer Sue Grey told RadioLIVE.
We have a predator crisis – that’s why we’re using 1080.
But Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is not buying it, and wants to put a stop to the debate once and for all.
“There have been over 2000 samples taken from waterways and none have shown that 1080 has levels that breach drinking water standards,” she said.
Ms Sage emphasised that 1080 is essential for protecting New Zealand’s indigenous wildlife by “knocking down” pests like possums, rats and stoats.
“They are major killers of our wildlife. We have a predator crisis – that’s why we’re using 1080.”
The Department of Conservation (DoC) says there are "no practical alternatives" and aerial 1080 is "the only method that can be deployed rapidly to managed a pest boom over vast or rugged terrain".
“Where we’re not doing pest control – we’re losing 19 out of 20 kiwi chicks,” said Nicola Toki, DoC Threatened Species Ambassador.
Environmental activists behind the “Hikoi of a Poisoned Nation” movement will march from various parts of the country to Wellington this week in a bid to pressure the Government to ban 1080.
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Co-organiser Alan Gurden began his march from Bluff on Thursday, and will present a petition to Parliament on Saturday.
“The absolute cruelty displayed to every life that dies from this is just unacceptable,” Mr Gurden told RadioLIVE.
While Mr Gurden admits he’s not a scientist, he argues that the bush and his community have clearly seen the effects of the pest control.
“There are people sick and dying every time they do drop 1080,” he said.
A report in 2011 by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment backed 1080's use.
Organisation leaders share their perspective
Listen to Bill O’Leary, New Zealand Deerstalkers Association; Kevin Hackwell, Forest & Bird chief conservation advisor; and Chris Allen, Federated Farmers board member above.
Campaigners explain why they oppose 1080
Listen to Alan Gurden, spokesman of Hikoi of a Poisoned Nation; Clyde Graf, anti-1080 campaigner and filmmaker; and Sue Grey, environmental lawyer above.
Government and agencies weigh in
Listen to Nicola Toki, DoC Threatened Species Ambassador; Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage; and Dr Jan Wright, former Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.
Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.