14 Apr 2016

Government to take control of 1080 rules

8:36 pm on 14 April 2016

The government plans to take pest control out of the hands of regional councils and make the rules for using 1080 poison and other methods nationally consistent.

NZ Planning Institute conference at the Dunedin town hall.

Environment Minister Nick Smith said "stupid bureaucratic rules" around 1080 were not serving any good environmental cause. Photo: RNZ/Ian Telfer

Environment Minister Nick Smith made the announcement this morning at the New Zealand Planning Institute's annual conference in Dunedin.

Dr Smith said New Zealand ranked as the worst country in the world for protecting its endangered species, especially its birds.

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Pellets of 1080 (file) Photo: Supplied

The answer would be nationally consistent rules to make the system easier and cheaper, he said.

"Whether it's ratepayers' money or taxpayers' money, there is always going to be limited resources for pest control.

"But wasting it on stupid bureaucratic rules that double up on each other is not serving any good environmental cause."

The proposals would mean the use of 1080, brodifacoum and rotenone would be covered by standard controls set by the Environmental Protection Authority, rather than having each regional council set their own pest control rules.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright called for the move in a major report five years ago, saying current rules were labyrinthine and costly.

"There are cases where for instance DOC [Department of Conservation] might plan to do a drop over a forested area that might be partly in one region and partly in another and have entirely different conditions placed on them by the different councils and so it makes it very difficult to operate.

She said Dr Smith's changes sounded good and that the plan would worry some people but the public's view of 1080 was much more positive than it used to be.

Local Government New Zealand said regional councils were pleased, because the duplication was unnecessary and the national safeguards were ample.

But a Waikato regional councillor who is anti-1080, Clyde Graf, said the plan was a way to expand 1080 use and knock out the community's objections.

The announcement follows the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on 1080 in 2011, and analysis last year by the Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Primary Industries and TBFree, a subsidiary of primary produce industry group OSPRI.

Submissions on the proposals close on 26 May.

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