Farmer gets police escort from drop zone

Last updated 05:00 26/08/2014

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A Lillburn Valley farmer was a bit bemused as he got a police escort from the Lake Hauroko boat ramp to the helicopter loading point for the 1080 drop on Sunday.

Trevor West said he rang Department of Conservation officer Colin Bishop to tell him he was going to be staying in the Teal Bay hut on the shores of Lake Hauroko on Friday night and then taking his jet boat down the Wairarauhiri River on Saturday.

He said Bishop asked him if he intended to make any trouble as DOC planned to drop 1080 in the Wairarauhiri and Lake Poteritere areas.

"I told him that I wasn't going to make any trouble for them, even thought I don't agree with their 1080 drop, a fact well known to Colin Bishop."

West stayed in the Teal Bay hut on Friday night along with another jet boating crew who arrived later in the evening.

"On the Saturday morning, we both took our jet boats down the Wairarauhiri River doing a bit of deerstalking and whitebaiting on the way. The other party returned back to the Lake Hauroko wharf on the Saturday evening and I remained at the DOC hut near the mouth of the Wairarauhiri River, intending to return home on the Sunday morning," West said.

Arriving back at the Teal Bay hut about 11am on Sunday, West was met by a DOC worker, who told him there was a police escort waiting for him.

"I thought that he was joking. However, when I arrived back at the boat ramp, I was approached by two Tuatapere police officers who told me they had be instructed by Colin Bishop to escort me out of the area."

West is a deer hunter and farmer whose property boundaries the affected areas and as such he feels that the Lake Hauroko, Wairarauhiri River and Lake Poteritere areas would be better if the 1080 was done by ground-based baiting and spreading, that would reduce the bait getting into the waterways and rivers.

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- The Southland Times

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