The independent environment watchdog has slated the Department of Conservation for spending more money researching 1080 than actually using it.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, today released a second report after saying in June 2011 that 1080 poison should be used more to control pests.
She said then that 1080 remained controversial, despite the fact only a fraction of it was used in comparison to other pesticides, but was an “ideal method” for controlling rodents effectively and allowing native trees and animals to flourish.
In today's report Wright criticised DOC for failing to act on her recommendations and increase the use of 1080.
Some native species were at real risk of being wiped out, and 1080 was the most effective way to save them.
“There are three predators that are inflicting enormous damage on our native birds and plants – possums, rats, and stoats,” said Wright.
“The only way we can control them over large areas is to use 1080. We are lucky to have it.”
She said the department was spending more on research into 1080 and its alternatives than it was on using it.
While it was good the research was being done, frontline pest control needed more attention, she said.
“While I am heartened by the public support for a pest-free New Zealand there is no way that it could currently be achieved without 1080.
She said she would continue to recommend increasing the use of 1080.
What is 1080?
The Department of Conservation described 1080 as a chemical reproduction of a naturally-occurring, biodegradable poison that plants use to discourage browsing animals.
It is found in Australian, South American and African plants.
When consumed in high doses, 1080 disrupts the metabolic pathway by which animals extract energy from food and leads to death from cardiac or respiratory failure.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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