What are our values?

New Zealand has been attempting to eradicate selected mammals by poisoning with 1080 for over sixty years. Vast amounts of research have been undertaken to measure its effectiveness but the target species (rats, stoats and possums) are still here, perhaps in greater numbers than ever. The inevitable by-kill of non-target species by spreading such an extremely hazardous toxin as 1080 continues.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s Report on 1080 (June 2011) concluded that in order for 1080 to be effective it must be used in large amounts and in perpetuity. However, increasing the frequency of deployment has been shown to reduce its effectiveness, possibly due to bait-shyness. To all intents, therefore, 1080 has become the “opium of conservation”.

The prioritisation of eradicating rats and mustelids using 1080 has also diverted focus away from other threats to our native fauna: Magpies, myna birds, weasels, ferrets, hedgehogs and feral cats, for instance, displacee or kill birds, insects and amphibia.

United Future’s intent is to create the opportunity and environment for individuals, communities of interest and businesses to establish viable alternatives to aerial 1080 dispersal and measure and monitor the effectiveness of this approach.

What will we do?
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Public Commission into pest control strategies and the use of 1080 

We would establish a commission, akin to the Land and Water Forum to help establish a consensus on long-term pest control strategies.

We would immediately propose a trial in a place such as the West Coast (ideal because it is clearly defined geographically by the Southern Alps, Tasman sea and Fiordland) to set up a proper study where we use traps and other non-poison pest control options in one area and 1080 in another and have it truly tested.  This would provide a real scenario that the public could view to see the effects of each trial.

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Expansion of community-based initiatives

We would make funding available to expand the community initiatives that seek to aid out pest-free by 2050 strategy.  We would ensure that local communities were properly resourced for:

  • Community-based initiatives, such as bounty payments, to increase ground-based trapping of rats and mustelids;
  • Initiatives to maximise possum trapping and exploit the fur and meat export markets that help local community economies
  • Planning and executing an extensive monitoring and reporting programme of our threatened species and their predators during the period of the moratorium.
  • Subsiding household pest traps to ensure that our towns and cities can easily engage in our pest-free strategy on a household-to-household level
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Introduction of an environmental research fund 

We would introduce a $10 million per year contestable fund for the purpose of funding innovative research into New Zealand’s environment.

Projects like genetic research into pests have proven to be promising in theory stages and deserve avenues to be built in order for them to be tested.

This will allow researchers and institutions to focus on cutting-edge environmental research that will help us to protect our environment now and into the future.

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