Stop aerial 1080 operations until a properly designed and executed study independent of DoC and AHB can be completed showing the benignity and benefits of aerial 1080 to our native forests and their inhabitants. Such a study should include aspects that test alternatives to aerial 1080 and ensure the effective and simultaneous decline of pests.
Comprehensive inquiries independent of all political control should be initiated to investigate the following:
1. Aerial 1080 application and the way it is funded by the NZ government. This should be undertaken by a one-time independent commission at least half constituted of respected international scientists.
2. Potential conflicts of interest, fraud and financial impropriety regarding all aspects of the 1080 industry, from research and purchase through to post-drop cleanup (what cleanup?).
Environmental research funding should be reorganized to remove it from the control of agencies and individuals with a potential financial stake in the outcomes.
All licenses for aerial 1080 application should be put on hold until further notice and the focus shifted to eradication of bovine Tb around farms to protect our livestock (which simply do not live in places such as the Waitutu).
We, the people of New Zealand, should pay any additional cost for ground-based possum control, if any, until sound research can be completed regarding permanent environmentally-friendly systems of pest eradication that simultaneously target multiple species of pests.
Note: DoC advised the Southland Conservation Board on 7/10/09 that the Waitutu project would take 30 trappers 6 months for $35.52/ha. Independent research produced quotes of 10 trappers 3 months for $25~30/ha. DoC estimate 2 days and $21.54/ha for aerial 1080, however associated costs were not included and DoC did not release final costs when requested.) Comparable 1080 drops on the West Coast & Hokonuis were $50+/ha.
If ground-based control is the safest, most cost effective method, then current funding for existing aerial 1080 operations should cease immediately and the funding be used for ground-based operations. Excess funding could be used for local initiatives.
We are VERY happy to work with DoC or anyone else towards achieving positive outcomes for our environment, communities and agriculture, but the present system is clearly an international embarrassment and poses great dangers, meaning that we need to develop better and smarter ways of doing this.