Weed spraying contractor advised 48 hours ahead of Taranaki operation
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe Department of Conservation is rejecting suggestions a group of weed sprayers were not advised about its recent 1080 operation targeting possums and rats on Mt Taranaki.
Date: 08 March 2010
The Department of Conservation is rejecting suggestions a group of weed sprayers were not advised about its recent 1080 operation targeting possums and rats on Mt Taranaki.
Two employees, spraying weeds in the park for a DOC contractor, claim they were caught unawares by the aerial operation on the weekend of February 20.
DOC says phone logs confirm that the weed spraying contractor involved was one of more than 200 people specifically advised about the operation between two and three days before it was carried out.
DOC spokesman Bill Fleury says, “This call was the final stages of a more than year long community information programme which included flyers, letter drops, media releases, hui and personal visits to inform the affected community about the operation.”
“DOC planned the operation on the basis that a significant number of people would be inside park boundaries while it was carried out and at least two thousand people visited the park over the two day period.”
He says the risks to people from finding biodegradable1080 cereal baits on the ground is extremely low and the operation was carried out after full consultation with the local health authorities.
DOC is also rejecting claims the helicopter used in the operation overflew a nearby home.
Bill Fleury says, “The house in question is about one hundred metres from the park boundary and about 150 metres from the nearest bait. Footage shot from the property is misleading as the helicopter is operating on a steep slope behind the house.”
GPS navigation systems used during the operation confirms that the helicopter dropping 1080 baits stayed within the park boundary throughout the operation and these records are fully available.