11 Jun 2011

1080 report 'breath of fresh air' to conservationist

8:00 am on 11 June 2011

Conservationist Steven King, who has worked in Northland's Waipoua kauri forest for 20 years, says a 1080 report released this week is a breath of fresh air.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, has found no arguments of substance against using 1080 poison to control pests, and recommends it be used more, not less.

Mr King says 1080 brought Waipoua back from the brink in 1990 and remains an essential tool in the forest's survival.

He says the toxin's worst problem is its name, which reminds people of old-style poisons like DDT and 2,4-D. But it's had a bad press, he says, which is undeserved.

Mr King says the poison is a synthetic form of a natural toxin produced by plants in Australia and South Africa to repel mammals.

"Our New Zealand plants didn't have to develop these sorts of defences because [New Zealand] didn't have mammals.

"We've tried using one of our most toxic plants, the tutu, which can kill elephants, horses and donkeys successfully - we've tried that on possums but possums love it, they eat it.

"So if we have an Aussie pest and an Aussie problem in our forests I think it's appropriate to use an Aussie solution, from nature in Australia. It's nature's solution to the problem."