5 Feb 2009

Meeting planned over Westland 1080 decision

11:46 am on 5 February 2009

Three agencies involved in the use of the pesticide 1080 want to meet the Westland District Council to clear up any confusion over the safety of the poison's use.

The Council plans to oppose aerial drops of 1080 in certain water catchment areas, although it still supports ground applications.

The council's declaration was applauded by West Coast protest groups but has caused confusion for the agencies involved in 1080 distribution.

The Animal Health Board, Federated Farmers and the Department of Conservation all say the Council has no legal ability to ban aerial 1080 drops in its region and therefore its opposition is irrelevant.

Animal Health Board spokesperson Nick Hancox said the council is not an affected party in law so its decision has no legal standing.

"But we also don't particularly want to be doing things in the face of opposition from district councils and that's why we want to go and talk to the council about their decision."

The agencies say strict guidelines for dropping 1080 near waterways are effective and provide adequate public safety.

The groups plan to meet Westland District Council representatives later this month to establish what has prompted its new stance and try to quell the council's concerns.

Westland District mayor Maureen Pugh said the council's opposition sends a message to the relevant authorities that it is time to change the way the poison is used.

Ms Pugh says her ratepayers want the use of 1080 reviewed and the council is an advocate for its people.