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Published: 2002-04-15 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is to take a proactive stance on the re-assessment of the pesticide 1080.

This month’s Biosecurity Committee Meeting recommended that regional councils take an active part in the re-assessment process, and that the Local Government Regional Affairs Committee make a submission on the issue.

The pesticide is being re-assessed after the transition process of hazardous substances from the former Vertebrate Pesticide regulations to the new Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act. Several compounds are proposed to be reassessed, looking at the risks, costs and benefits, management and controls.

The consortium of the Animal Health Board, Department of Conservation, Animal Control Products and regional councils have taken a proactive position in proposing the 1080 reassessment. The process will be formal and public consultation was likely to take some time to complete.

Biosecurity group manager John Simmons said the opponents of 1080 had high expectations of the outcomes andIt was anticipated that controls on its use would come under scrutiny. Environment Waikato was involved in the process and he was a member of the reassessment working party.

Councillor Evan Penny said 1080 was the preferred agent to use over difficult terrain, and asked what would happen if councils couldn't use it. He asked if there would be a comparative risk assessment of other methods. Mr Simmons said other products, such as cyanide, brodifacoum, phosphorus and fumigants were also being reviewed as they were transferred from the Pesticides Act to HASNO Act controls. They would not be re-assessed unless ERMA considered there were substantial issues or new information on the substances.

Chairman Neil Clarke said he was concerned that elements which had questioned the use of 1080 had had a great influence on the subject, and the program proposed was very expensive and time-consuming for all sectors of local and central government.

"It concerns me that we are being driven on things such as this and I wonder when the time will arise when we have to stand fast. Enormous research has already been done, and 1080 is under huge scrutiny."

Committee chairperson Helen Lane said Environment Waikato had discussed holding seminars with organisations to reaffirm the science behind 1080 use, and discuss and debate the issues surrounding 1080. A media day was also planned to try to overcome what had become an emotive issue tovested interests such as hunters groups.