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:





Merryn Bayliss Sat 14 Jun 2014 6:27AM

I would like to see NZ stop use of ALL poisons in native ecosystems, for multiple reasons


Rangi Kemara Sat 14 Jun 2014 6:37AM

I see theres a Ban 1080 party kicking off next week sometime. I would suppose they would be coming to chat at some point to get this party's position on the issue.


Colin Davies Sat 14 Jun 2014 6:40AM

Ian, I would back your proposal if it included an appropriate Government package to control possums via alternative means. Which I guess means trapping. There must be figures somewhere for how much such a package would cost. And I bet its big. But I believe it is possible to do.


Colin Davies Sat 14 Jun 2014 6:41AM

Sorry I misread that. You already did that. Sorry again.


Ian Miller Sat 14 Jun 2014 7:42PM

My understanding is $15M has been allocated this year for 1080 deployment. That money could be better spent establishing a serious nationwide culling regime. It could be a base to creating a new regional work structure (trapping, harvesting, collection, primary pelt preparation, etc); something that is URGENTLY required to counter the scourge of long-term unemployment.


Ian Miller Sat 14 Jun 2014 8:16PM

This proposal is one that could possibly appeal to the Mana party.

While we know DOC are spending millions of taxpayer dollars deploying 1080 in Crown reserves, I'm not sure what, if any, attempts are being made to control (cull and harvest) possums in Maori land (apart from solitary trapping).

Currently most possum are harvested for their fur, which means that there's a lot of wastage with discarded hides and carcasses. The fur is blended with Merino wool and Rayon (as the binding agent) and then woven to create an ultra-warm fabric.

I understand there may be several pet food processors using possum, but any 1080 in the food chain effectively puts a stop to that.

In the past efforts have been made to market the meat in China as 'apple eating kiwi tree bear', but that was apparently a disastrous failure when an unnamed Government Minister was offered some of the delicacy at a function, only to reject the offer with the comment "no way, that could have TB!"

One prime rationale for 1080 use has long been the claim that possums can carry TB and the dusease can cross-over and effect livestock (cattle).

The Livestock Control Board, which recently underwent a name-change, was charged with administering a nation-wide possum culling regime. They not only get a Governemt grant, they also levy meat exporters per beast to the tune of $15 per exported carcass.

Apparently they were so good at their job that the target rates for incidents of livestock TB fell below the guidelines several years ago.


Ian Miller Sat 14 Jun 2014 11:45PM

Oops my bad...today it is the Animal Health Board. You can learn more about their operations here:



Ian Miller Sun 15 Jun 2014 12:08AM

Here's an article penned in 2011 by a WWF (World Wildlife Fund) New Zealand communications director Ross Argent in which he graphically describes the damage done to our native bush and birds, along with one method of trapping possums for harvest



Ian Miller Mon 16 Jun 2014 9:26AM

Meanwhile, the Ban 1080 Party has officially been registered, to contest the forthcoming election. Their concerns about the indiscriminate damage caused by this poison are clearly outlined here:



Rangi Kemara Mon 16 Jun 2014 11:56AM

@ianmiller "Meanwhile, the Ban 1080 Party has officially been registered"

Yes, and the beauty of MMP is that the Internet Party can form a position on this subject as well, and if it supports them the the IP can throw its support in behind their efforts as well.

As for Maori, many have been hit hard by 1080 which has almost ended the possum fur trade. DOC 1080'd these forests here in the Pureora, Maraeroa areas over the last few years in order to control possums, feral cats, stoats and rats as a means of protecting the Whio, the native blue duck.

Apart from 1080 knocking the fur trade for a 6, and eventually decimating the deer population, it also has resulted in an imbalance in the forest with our forests being temporarily overrun with wild pigs which are having a run of the place and destroying much of the forest fauna while feasting and becoming fat on all the hinau berries that the possums didn't consume in the past few years.

Thing is there is not enough resources in our forests to maintain that size pig population - every year, and this year for example has been a lean year for miro, tawa and hinau berries, so that population will mostly now starve to death very shortly.

But it doesn't end there, now the forests are being overrun by stoats and rats who have bounced back, and also feasted off of the berries, are now at levels never seen before in the history of these forests.

Now the forest is littered with DOC stoat traps, and DOC workers out trying to protect the blue duck from the stoat and rat explosion, and, with rats, come the feral cats, on and on and on and on it goes....one leading to the next and to the next....

What began as a mission to protect the blue duck population has had a worse impact on the population than if they had not interfered with 1080.

Meanwhile possum traps hang rusting at the back of whare around the valleys, and Maori have had to head closer to town to find other ways of living, because 1080 poisoning has almost ended our long lived subsistent lifestyles.

Load More