Northland's Russell State Forest receives 1080 drop

By Moana Makapelu Lee
  • Northland

Northland's Russell State Forest has become the latest target for a 1080 aerial drop as part of a 20 year plan to help restore the forest.

Kākā and Kākāriki are two of the most recent birds that have fallen silent within the Russell State Forest, deemed on the brink of collapse due to pests according to the Department of Conservation (DOC) and Forest and Bird.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says, "Hapū in Northland, areas like Russell Forest have highlighted that the areas have been collapsing because of possum damage.  They haven’t had control in more than two decades.  We need to do that control for the forest to survive.”

It’s the latest forest to be treated with 1080 bait, which Sage says is currently the best tool in the kit to help pest control nationwide and allow for the restoration of native species.

 “1080 is the safest tool available to get predator numbers down to enable our indigenous species to thrive.”

Last year NZ First came out in opposition to 1080 saying they would ban it if they were in government.

Forestry Minister Shane Jones says he is currently looking at solutions, including opportunities to create more jobs. 

“I have been approached by Northland hapū who believe there are opportunities for their hunters.  They say do away with bait and leave it to them.  Make it a money-making opportunity that will create jobs.”

Parliament grounds have become a canvas for anti-1080 graffiti this week following anti-1080 protests over the weekend.

Today protesters went so far as dropping 1080 pellets on the parliament forecourt.

Sage says “People are entitled to their opinions but some of the tactics being used by these protesters, being abusive towards contractors, departmental staff are not acceptable.  Department staff contractors are doing their job, we need to use 1080 otherwise our indigenous species won’t survive.”

The minister says research is underway for more solutions.