DoC outline reasons for 1080 use

By Maiki Sherman

As investigations continue regarding the blackmail threat to contaminate infant milk powder with 1080 poison, the Department of Conservation (DoC) outlined the reason it uses the poison for pest control.

DoC appeared before the Local Government and Environment Select Committee today.

Police say they've received 42 contacts from the public and are encouraging anyone else with information to get in touch.

In regards to DoC, this certainly wasn't the only issue on the agenda at today's select committee.

According to the Department of Conservation (DoC), 22 million birds are dying each year and the kiwi will become extinct just like the moa, if 1080 poison isn't used.

Lou Sanson says, “Without 1080 we have TB, without 1080 we lose our birds.  It is just incredibly abhorrent what this person has done to an entire country.”

Apart from those external challenges, DoC is also having to deal with in-house issues. Two years ago more than 100 job cuts took place and the department is still dealing with the affects.

“The morale is, it's been the toughest time in DoC in 25 years.  Those cuts were big, 120 people went. We are getting back together,” says Sanson.

In the last two years travel expenses have increased at DoC by $1.6 million. A cost of the restructure. 

However, it's not as though there aren't any good things happening at DoC. Relationships with iwi were very much boasted about, with Tūhoe in particular.

“Tangata whenua, it is a different attitude to land than European have and if you can bring that together in a bi-cultural situation the whole country is stronger,” says Sanson.

Certainly the relationships with external partners are on the way up, the challenge though is to ensure internal relationships head in the same direction.