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Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith is disappointed that a community group in Nelson, the Brook Valley Community Group, is legally challenging national regulations for pest control.

“Pests like rats, stoats and possums kill 25 million native birds a year and effective control is essential if we are to ensure the survival of iconic species like kiwi and kaka. The national pest control regulations for the use of 1080 and brodifacoum were introduced this year on the recommendation of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment to ensure consistent and safe use of the poisons. The regulations provide strong safeguards to ensure the operations are done professionally and that the environment and public health are properly protected.

“These national regulations were publicly advertised in April 2016 and received 220 submissions, with 163 in support. The submissions strongly supported the view that the regulation of pest control was best done nationally rather than every council having different rules. The regulations were supported by Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, Federated Farmers of New Zealand and Local Government New Zealand. I announced the decision to proceed with the new national regulations in February this year.

“It is disingenuous of the Brook Valley Community Group to object to detail of the regulations when their position is that they totally oppose the use of 1080 and brodifacoum. Their submissions on the regulations describes the use of poisons as ‘a monstrosity and scientific fraud’. Their submission and request that communities needed at least 12 months’ notice of the date any pest control operation is impractical and unreasonable. The fact the group advised the media prior to lodging court papers suggests this legal challenge is a stunt.

“I am particularly disappointed for the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust, who have worked so hard for over a decade with thousands of volunteers and millions in fundraising to create a safe haven for our native birds in Nelson. This legal challenge will just push up their costs and make their job more difficult.

“The Government will be vigorously opposing this legal challenge, including the application for an injunction on current planned pest control operations.”

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