1080 buf fer removal concerns aired

By Laura Mills

West Coast iwi Te Runanga o Makaawhio is concerned after buffers around waterways were removed from two pending 1080 helicopter poison drops.
The buffers were removed from the Mokihinui and western Kahurangi aerial poison operations.
Iwi representative Jackie Douglas told the West Coast Regional Council meeting in Greymouth today that with a large increase in poison areas planned as part of the Department of Conservation’s ‘Battle for Our Birds’, the runanga was concerned a precedent may be set.
“We can see it becoming part of the Battle for Our Birds campaign. Our waterways won’t be protected,” Mrs Douglas said.
The runanga was also discussing the issue with DOC.
Council consents and compliance manager Jackie Adams said one of the drops concerned was on DOC land.
DOC had originally requested the buffer zone, but then asked to remove it.
If the buffer had remained in place, “quite a lot” of land would have been left “untreated” by the poison, Mr Adams said.
As there were no affected parties, the council did not have to notify anyone of the removal.
“A lot of people mix up. It’s just to remove the buffer, not to discharge to water.”
Cr Peter Ewen said the council was the regulatory body, but it was DOC land.
He said the iwi’s concerns were noted.
Regional council chairman Andrew Robb said it was a legal, resource consent process.
“If it meets the rules it (consent) will be given. We don’t have control over that in this forum,” Mr Robb said.