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Letters to the Editor

Threatened species, yet predators increase.

When the Department of Conservation (DOC) arrived on the Coromandel peninsula there were very few “pests”. Each landowner dealt with their own “pests” and there was no ‘problem'.

After a few years, DOC told us there was a plague of possums which would strip all our native trees of leaves unless they used this ’nuclear’ poison which they could drop from the air. This was an ‘emergency’ and emergency measures were required. They dropped their nuclear poison from the air but it made no apparent difference. The trees which had not been poisoned survived as well if not better than the trees which had received poison.

Once the aerial poisoning began, it could not be stopped. The poisoning operations rely on poison baits made by the government and sold to government departments which spread it.

Then rats became a ‘problem' and we were told that the aerial poison would keep the rat numbers down. Rats were a “predator” eating birds eggs. The aerial poisoning evolved from a controller of leaf-eating possums to a controller of “predators”. All of a sudden the once-strictly herbivorous possum became an omnivore and joined the rats as a “predator”.

Then we learned of mustelids on our peninsula, stoats! So the aerial poisoning continued to combat all these nasty ‘predators’. Then weasels appeared and then ferrets! The poison drops have continued and the number of ‘pests’ and ‘predators’ has steadily increased. Today we have more possums, rats and mustelids than ever before and we have more species of these ‘nasties’ than ever before.

Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent on wild animal control on the Coromandel. DOC has established a wild animal control system which can go on for ever and never make any progress against what is seen as a ‘pest problem.’ “Sustainable’ is the ‘in-word’ today and DOC’s present system has ensured that their ‘business’ will continue for ever; secure jobs for generations - ‘sustainable'.

After 35 years of application, DOC tells us in the 6 September (Environmental news p.13) issue of the informer that:

"New Zealand’s wildlife is still in crisis, with more than 4000 of our native animals and plants threatened or at risk.”

John Veysey


Sporty’s Ground - shortcuts taken. This letter is for the locals who did not know the Heartland Rugby Championship game between Thames Valley and North Otago is to be played in Whitianga on Saturday, 24 September. Unfortunately, because the Multimillion dollar sports complex at Moewai Park is not up to acceptable playing conditions, the game has now been transferred to Lyons Park.

When the sports ground was being developed, it was left to the then Area Manager and Project Manager with an open cheque book to complete. They did not listen to me or other local experts at how this should be done. We ended up with a million-dollar changing complex that did not even have a canteen facility for people to use. The playing fields development was a complete fiasco and to save money, short cuts were taken (too many to list here). The end result is we have an A1 changing facility and a B grade sportsfield where it should have been the other way round. Locals will remember me when I was Caretaker and Groundsman at the local Area School in the 1980’s. I prepared two rugby fields, a soccer field, a hockey field and a 400-metre athletic track and I also looked after Lyons Park. These sports fields were always in top condition through summer and winter for all to play on. I could see, as the sports complex playing fields were being developed, that mistakes were being made right from the start. Do not blame the now council field management team as they cannot fix what was done before them. I find it sad that this complex is not up to playing standard but am happy that the game will now be played at Lyons Park which is the heartbeat of rugby in this town.

Peter Grant



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