Protest over Takaka 1080 drop results in arrest

A 1080 pellet.

A 1080 pellet.

A man has been charged with theft following a peaceful protest against 1080 poison in Cobb Valley this week.

The 44-year-old man was arrested and charged after he attempted to intervene with the 1080 drop on Monday evening. The man is due to appear at Nelson District Court next week.

Staff associated with the controversial pest eradication program blocked off an area to the public during a delivery in Golden Bay.

1080 poison pellets.
Barry Harcourt

1080 poison pellets.

The man approached one of the staff members at the base of Cobb Valley Rd and allegedly took the keys to their vehicle.

READ MORE: Frustrated anti-1080 protesters in Takaka

The incident comes after last week's anti-1080 protest over the same aerial drop in the Kahurangi National Park. About 60 protesters then gathered out of "sheer frustration".

Stop the Drop protest organiser of Kahurangi 1080 Action Group, Trevor Koberstein, said he had no involvement with this week's protest but said there were many people against the use of the poison.

"We were planning a protest up the Cobb [Valley] in response to that [drop]. Police closed the road and we were unable to," he said.

He said last week the group's aim was to peacefully disrupt the 1080 drop.

Koberstein said protesters would continue to raise the public's awareness about risks the group associated with 1080.

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"I care quite deeply about our environment and our back country, otherwise I would be supporting 1080 if I thought it worked."

DOC began aerial 1080 drops in the Kahurangi National Park in September as part of its Battle for our Birds predator control programme.

It is aimed at protecting populations of whio/blue duck, great spotted kiwi, kea, kaka, rock wren/tuke, Powelliphanta snails and long-tailed bats/pekapeka.

The Kahurangi predator control is the largest operation in the programme and is planned to cover about 295,000 hectares of the park and other conservation land.

DOC's Golden Bay operations manager Andrew Lamason said the pest control in this area began on Tuesday and was expected to be completed by Wednesday.

He said more than 51,500 hectares in the Cobb block would be treated as part of the Kahurangi National Park predator control operation. 

"It is being carried out to protect vulnerable native wildlife ... from high rat numbers and a surge in stoat numbers that would occur this summer without the predator control."

DOC spokesperson Trish Grant said after last week's protest people had a right to express their views and lawfully protest, however it would not stop DOC from continuing the drop.

 - Stuff


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