New Zealand Needs to Abolish the Use of 1080 in Our Native Forests

IM Ian Miller Public Seen by 33

We need to seriously investigate putting money into commercial harvesting instead of spending millions of dollars annually on the widespread, costly and largely ineffectual use of 1080 poisons to eradicate the Australian Brush Tailed Possum (trichosurus vulpecular) in our native forests and other areas administered by the Department of Conservation.

While possum culling in New Zealand is condoned by the World Wildlife Fund, the continued use of 1080 in our Forests and National Parks puts the lie to international marketing claims of a "clean, green New Zealand".

The oft-quoted statement that "some areas are too difficult to trap" no longer holds true; New Zealand has one of the highest per capita population of helicopters and is currently developing some extremely effective harvesting techniques, including the use of GPS-enabled traps and Drone technologies.

Originally introduced from Australia in the 19th Century as a cash crop, the pelt has some unique properties that make its use very desirable in a hi-tech world.

There is no shortage of Brush Tailed Possum in New Zealand. It is estimated there are as many as 95 million possum in the wild and they do extreme damage to both native bush and birdlife in all areas of the country.

These pages clearly spell out the environmental impact:





Stephen Schoenberg Thu 19 Jun 2014 1:45AM

I think that it might be time to put this to a vote.
I have one argument I have used against 1080 that I have not heard much of a rebuttal to. Once the 1080 biscuits are dropped in a public place, there is nothing preventing someone from gathering up a backpack full and using them for their own purposes. That could be killing the neighbour's dog or a million other things. If 1080 were to find its way into export meat or milk, it would crash the NZ economy.


Ian Miller Thu 19 Jun 2014 6:48AM

I am more than happy to work with anyone to advance my proposal


Ian Miller Fri 20 Jun 2014 6:32AM

I learn today that various bureaucrats see legislation allowing for the harvesting of native trees dropped by a recent storm as one way of generating revenue from the sale of the milled timber as a source of funding for "pest eradication."

Do we read 1080 dispersal into this dubious model? I think so.


Rangi Kemara Fri 20 Jun 2014 6:35AM

Possibly, they could also be inferring that the profits from sales going to DOC.


Fred Look Fri 20 Jun 2014 8:42PM

yes a very strong commitment BAN 1080 but I cant see the proposal here YES YES
on the ethical level if we have decided that we must kill some possums (and I agree we should) then this must be done by individuals taking personal responsibility for each death humainly (possumly?). We could ague that 1080 may be used provided that the operator count each bait and then recover it or record what was killed.


Fred Look Fri 20 Jun 2014 8:50PM

you can argue the science of a particular poison and 1080 is a bad one. but the point here is the chucking out of airplanes and then ramming a public opinion offensive ignoring the people on the ground


Marc Whinery Fri 20 Jun 2014 9:06PM

I still don't see the alternative to 1080. "Trap them" How much will that cost, how many will that trap?

Should we try to eradicate destructive non-native mammals? We haven't even looked at the reasons 1080 is used, but we are "sure" it should be banned?

That's putting the cart before the horse.

How about a policy on how to treat destructive non-native mammals first?

Once we have some agreement on that, then we worry about how.


Merryn Bayliss Fri 20 Jun 2014 10:16PM

I question how destructive possums really are. Has it actually been proven that they eat eggs and/or chicks? If so, with what degree of impact at population levels?

My understanding is that some widely publicised photos showing possum predation were a set-up. I would like to know the facts.

In any case, possums are here to stay, and I'm inclined to think we should leave them alone. The exception to this might be ground-based humane control as a buffer around farms, but I am skeptical about the need for even this. There are better ways to manage stock health and avoid Tb than killing possums, in my view.

Stoats and rats are another matter, as they definitely do directly predate on native wildlife. The situation with possums is not so clear cut in my mind though. I am inclined to think possums have been hard done by.


Rangi Kemara Sun 22 Jun 2014 8:45AM

This countries recent history is littered with bad ideas of pest control. Each pest being introduced to eradicate the previous bad idea. 1080 is yet another attempt at eradicating these pests that is turning out to be a bad idea with the best intentions.

@merrynbaliss Yes possums interfere with the tree nests of native birds but so do stoats and other tree climbing pests who numbers swell when possum numbers are hammered.

Keeping numbers of all pests at manageable stable levels by incentivising trappers and hunters is the best option in my opinion.


Merryn Bayliss Tue 24 Jun 2014 9:20AM

@terangikaiwhiriake What are you basing that statement on? Where is the evidence?

Load More