|South Coast Jet operator Vaughan Reynolds.|
South Coast Jet operator Vaughan Reynolds has decided to leave Tuatapere following the aerial 1080 operation in the Waitutu Forest carried out last October by the Department of Conservation (DoC).
After the drop business dropped right off and hunters are no longer booking to go into the area. “I can no longer make a living out of it”, said Mr. Reynolds, who has been forced to resort to cherry picking in Central Otago for little more than the minimum wage. “Once people hear that there has been a 1080 drop in the area they just don’t want to go.”
Born in Invercargill, Mr. Reynolds spent time possum hunting and working at the aluminium smelter at Tiwai before starting South Coast Jet in 2001. The business specialises in guided hunting and fishing in the area bordering the Waitutu Forest.
“I’ve hunted this area for 37 years,” said Mr. Reynolds, “and I, like a lot of other people with a history in the area, know that it just didn’t need to be done. It’s a complete waste of money and bird numbers are just the same as they were in the 1970s. It’s time DoC stopped using 1080 and started to help local communities such as Tuatapere to manage the incredible resources that we have on our back door steps.”
Mr. Reynolds plans to leave his two brothers behind in Invercargill and move to Australia to look for work in the mines. “It’s almost impossible to get ahead in this area”, he said. If it’s not DoC, then it’s the councils.”