Presentation of Petitions to the Thames Coromandel District Council on 12th December, 2017.
From Dr Wendy Pond and Stephanie McKee
At Public Forum on 12 December, Stephanie McKee and Dr.Wendy Pond presented two petitions to Thames Coromandel District Council. The Mayor had kindly granted us five minutes to address the last meeting of 2017.
After the presentations in response, Madame Mayor Sandra Goudie affirmed that she is willing to negotiate with the Minister of Conservation for use of 1080 to be replaced by trapping.

Stephanie McKee opened her presentation by quoting the Coromandel Tourism marketing slogan : “Coromandel – good for your soul.” After all this is why we are all here , - we are passionate about what a great place the Coromandel Peninsula is – to live in and to visit.
She presented petitions asking Council to investigate the storage of 23,000 kg of deadly ecotoxin 1080 in the Whitianga CBD at 20 Joan Gaskell Drive. This was a space known to the public as the new office from which Department of Conservation was conducting the aerial poisoning of public conservation lands at Moehau, Papakai, and Otahu.
During the night of the 8th June 2017, 23 tonnes of 0.15% 1080 pellets were brought to Liquor King building and stored adjacent to the DoC office.
At that time, DoC had not yet received consent for the operation, and did not even apply for the consent until11th/13th August, receiving it on 13th September 2017.!
This demonstrates that DoC was intent on its aerial poisoning programme regardless of public views or Community Council and TCDC resolutions. There is not even a pretense of a consultation process despite DoC's own stated consultation protocols.
Businesses in the building were not informed that they and their clients were working alongside a deadly toxin. Residential homes nearby also had no idea. The Local Fire Chief even was not informed ( confirmed by OIA, 11th December 2017 ).
Warehouse fires are not uncommon and one in 2006 in Murupara ignited bags of Bordifacoum rat poison, sending 18 people including fire fighters to hospital. ( Source: Rotorua Daily Post, 11th Oct, 2006.)
When burnt, 1080 generates extremely toxic Hydrogen Fluoride gases and in such an event the town would have to be evacuated. DoC would have been well aware of this risk, as it is stated clearly in the MSDS ( Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet) It's the kind of risk, maybe that has a low probability but with catastrophic consequences if there was a fire.
The risk analogy would be to have a clandestine nuclear bomb stored in a town, maybe with a low probability of detonation, but if there was an accident, the consequences would be catastrophic. Nuclear accidents though uncommon did happen which is why the nuclear warships were eventually banned in our harbours – it was a risk the government of the day chose not to take.
Likewise storing bulk ecotoxins in the middle of a residential and tourist town – this risk should never be allowed to happen again.
The Hazchem classification for 1080 pellets is 2XE and 2WE. The E stands for “Evacuation”. DoC did not have a complete emergency management plan. According to Worksafe: “When you store VTAs, you need to plan and be prepared to respond to any accident or emergency.”
We along with the 635 petitioners, think the Department of Conservation is being irresponsible and reckless in the extreme, taking a “she'll be right” attitude and exposing Whitianga to this risk without any consultation and without the residents' consent.
Did DoC inform the TCDC of this storage of a class 1A ecotoxin in the CBD of Whitianga? That is what the petition is about and why around people are asking for an enquiry on this matter. The petitioners are local people as well as people from all around NZ. They don't want this scenario repeated in their rural towns. Eyes are on the TCDC and their response..
Apart from some signage on a door, there were no notices alerting the public that 1080 bags were being loaded in a public carpark. Quote from Worksafe: “ Signs must be displayed at every entrance to the storage area, including vehicle access points.”
The workers were not wearing the required safety gear as instructed on the MSDS ( Manufacturer's Safety Data Sheet). Again a casual and cavalier approach to the use and handling of this ecotoxic substance.
Were the council public health and safety officers informed of this storage? There are many TCDC by-laws governing public health and safety, that it seems to be bizarre that this public health and safety risk could be under the radar. One can only surmise that DoC did not inform the TCDC as well.
Stephanie asked the Council: Who is governing the Thames Coromandel district with regards to public health and safety? Is it local government elected by ratepayers? or is outside agencies like DoC? We want a Democracy not a DoCracy!
Mayor Goudie asked a question about the Health and Safety Legislation : Ms McKee replied that there are new Hazardous Substances regulations that came into force on December 1st, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2017.
Dr Wendy Pond presented ten years of petitions from 2007 to 2017 which have asked Council to oppose use of 1080. DoC's own Survey(IPSOS June 2016) found that 90 percent of New Zealanders prefer hunting and trapping for predator control.
Eels, pigs, and watercress have all been reported with traces of 1080. 1080 has entered the food chain.( All referenced with scientific papers, available on request) Meanwhile farmers are phasing out use of chemical poisons, nationwide and many are moving to organic farming practices. Organics is the future direction for Coromandel.
Whose interests is Council representing? Landowners practising organic gardening, biodynamics, permaculture, herbal medicine, naturopathy, families who obtain food from the public conservation lands,organic beekeepers,rongoa maori practitioners and the people who support farmers' markets make up a large component of the district's ratepayers. Council needs to represent this large component of its ratepayers.
A resolution passed by Council in 2009 states: Resolved THAT : This Council agrees to advocate to the Minister of Conservation that where possible animal pest control in the Thames-Coromandel District be undertaken by trapping, hunting and non-residual poisons.
In response Madame Mayor Sandra Goudie affirmed that she is willing to negotiate with the Minister of Conservation for use of 1080 to be replaced by trapping.
Wishing you all Seasons Greetings.
Stephanie McKee

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