Letters to the editor

01:26, Jun 07 2012

1080 drops

I was amazed and disappointed at the reply of Landcare Research scientist John Innes' reply to Ron Eddy over 1080 drops [letters, Express, June 4]. It seems Mr Innes' solution is to drop more and more 1080 when he supports "increasing the frequency of 1080 drops".

Mr Innes, working for Landcare Research, would naturally back 1080 supplied from the Government-owned factory.

I am no scientist but I do bring a practical, independent approach to observations. I observed significant changes on the West Coast after 1080 was dropped on my property and public land adjoining. Before 1080 the stream through my property supported good populations of native fish, eels and koura (freshwater crayfish).

Twelve months after the drop, numbers of aquatic life had dropped dramatically. It also killed most weka, other birds and animals in a most cruel manner.

Regarding rats, they have been here for at least 1400 years, possibly longer, and were well documented by Maori throughout NZ. Birds and the well-known dawn chorus were common in the 1970s, 80s, 90s and then declined after 1080 drops became common as DOC (formed in 1987) and the Animal Health Board started bombing the country with the poison.


If each 1080 drop results in rats "exploding" back in numbers two or three times their original number within 18 months, then the supposed predation on birds by rats is increased two or three times, too. There are areas of private land protected from 1080 use where birds and wildlife are doing fine.



A mistake

On reading the letter by Landcare Research scientist John Innes [letters, Express, June 4], I accept that I wrongly credited his name to some of the information included in my letter [Express, May 30]. It was a genuine mistake and measures have been taken to see it doesn't happen again.

I do not agree with John that aerial 1080 operations help protect our native birdlife. The poison 1080 was first registered as an insecticide; in each aerial 1080 operation our native invertebrates die and become the catalyst to transfer 1080 to the native birds that feed on them.

It is also a known male reproductive inhibitor. Male birds that survive sub-lethal doses of 1080 further reduce the viability of breeding pools. Kea are very susceptible to aerial 1080 operations, as reported in various media, and even though new "safe practice" rules are in place it is still accepted by DOC that around 10 per cent of kea could die in any aerial 1080 operation in kea territory.

North Island kiwi are known to have eaten 1080 cereal baits and it is accepted all kiwi species are considered at risk from 1080 operations (CT Eason and EB Spurr, 1995). In late 2010, six kaka died at the Mt Bruce Sanctuary after breaking into bait stations containing poisoned cereal baits.

Just imagine, would gregarious birds like the kaka and kea ignore completely a bright green, cereal-based, cinnamon-smelling pellet dropped to them from the sky? Think about it.


Wairau Saddle

We can stay

Your editorial ["Three cheers for the Queen", Express, June 5] repeats a misconception about a New Zealand republic often heard by republicans – that we would have to leave the Commonwealth.

In fact, the majority of members of the Commonwealth today are republics.

Similarly, a New Zealand republic would still be a member of the Commonwealth.



Republican Movement of Aotearoa New Zealand

Know the facts

Scott Miller has made a fool of himself after his letter to the editor [Express, June 5].

David Cunliffe was mistakenly cited as the author of a segment of my letter by online newspaper The Standard.

I posted a draft version of that letter to my Facebook page over a darkened picture of the New Zealand flag. It was "liked" by over 85 people, including Mr Cunliffe, and as anyone with Facebook would know, "liking" content often causes it to be displayed on the profile of the person "liking" it.

This is where The Standard made its error in attributing it to David – an error which David Cunliffe himself rectified when he posted on The Standard to inform viewers of the mistake.

Right-wing bloggers David Farrar and Cameron Slater, aka Whaleoil (The Standard's main competition), were quick to make a story of it before the facts were known. As a result, they have made fools of themselves, as has Mr Miller, who is obviously one of their readers.

This Government is incompetent, as is its online support base.

I won't hold my breath for an apology.


Young Labour Marlborough

Well done, band

Once again plaudits are due to the individual and collective efforts of our brass band people, with the rewards from attendance at the regional contest held recently.

The fact that so many people can devote the time to making such wonderful music is a credit to them as well as our community.

Keep up the good work and best wishes for the forthcoming national contest in Timaru.



School cuts

Outrageous. That's the only way to describe the letter that came home from Bohally Intermediate this week. The letter states that the "budget bombshell" could see the loss of up to nine staff and no specialist technology education.

Where did that come from? Did I miss something?

There is nothing more critical to the success of our country than education. Twenty per cent of current school leavers don't have sufficient numeracy and literacy skills to be able to function in the workforce.

It appeared that the Government was heading down the path of trying to address this with the introduction of National Standards. Now I'm told by our son's principal that his school faces the prospect of having to cut all technology education and having to lay off nine staff? I don't understand it.

I'm certainly not interested in any argument over affordability when the Government continues to waste money on vote catching middle class welfare such as interest-free student loans and poorly targeted Working For Families, and continues to bury its head in the sand over the age of eligibility for superannuation.

As suggested by principal Andrew Read, I hope the parents of Bohally students and others express their concerns strongly to Kaikoura MP Colin King, Education Minister Hekia Parata and Prime Minister John Key.

This issue requires people power to save what we have. Make sure your voice is heard.



The Marlborough Express