18 December 2013

Environment Commissioner welcomes EPA report on the use of 1080

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has welcomed the latest Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) monitoring report on the use of 1080 for the control of pests.

In Dr Wright's 2010 report, she concluded that not only should 1080 use continue, but that we should use more of it.

The Commissioner, Dr Jan Wright, said that the EPA review, concluding existing controls on 1080 are safe and effective, was timely, given that both the North and South Islands are currently facing a potential "explosion" in pest numbers.

"This summer beech trees are flowering prolifically, and are expected to produce vast amounts of seeds. This abundance of food will lead to plagues of rats. These exploding populations of rats will, in turn, provide plentiful food for stoats to multiply. These 'mast' events happen periodically, and take a huge toll on our native birds, insects and lizards", said Dr Wright.

"1080 is the only tool we have to control the plagues of rats and stoats that follow a mast", she said.

Dr Wright also called on the agencies responsible for the management of pests to work together to coordinate a response to the pending beech mast threat.

"If additional funds are needed to respond effectively to this mast, then it is important that these be found or we risk setting our conservation programme back decades."

Dr Wright also welcomed moves to lower the cost of unnecessary red tape associated with aerial 1080 drops. The Director General of the Department of Conservation recently told Parliament that the cost of the consent process is a significant proportion of the total cost of a 1080 drop.

A Q+A about 1080 can be found here.

The EPA report is available here.