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Posted by On 10:37 PM

Jacinda Ardern receives death threat as row over use of poison grows

New Zealand Jacinda Ardern receives death threat as row over use of poison grows

Use of deadly 1080 bait has led to New Zealand government staff being abused, locked in national parks and harassed online

A 1080 sign on the Milford Track
Protesters have intensified their efforts this year as the New Zealand government has stepped up its nation-wide pest control program. Photograph: Murdo Macleod for the Guardian

The New Zealand prime minister has been the subject of a death threat from environmental campaigners who have intensified their opposition to the government’s use of the poison 1080 to tac kle invasive wildlife.

Jacinda Ardern told a local television station on Tuesday that she had received a number of threats from anti-1080 protesters, including at least one against her life, but said she was more concerned about increasing levels of harassment and violence to conservation staff.

As opposition to the use of the pesticide has grown over recent months, conservation department staff have had tyres slashed and wheel nuts loosened, been locked in national parks by protesters blocking exits, received verbal and social media threats, including death threats, had protesters threaten to shoot down department helicopters, and dodged wires erected through the helicopter flight paths.

'Like losing family': time may be running out for New Zealand's most sacred tree Read more

In September anti-1080 campaigners left dozens of dead native birds on parliament steps. Toxicology tests later showed the birds had no traces of 1080 in the ir systems.

“When we see that tip into violence or threats of violence against people just working on the front line and doing their job then that concerns me,” Ardern said.

The conservation minister, Eugenie Sage, accused the activists of spreading “fake news” regarding the poison, which her department says “leaves no permanent or accumulative residue in water, soil, plants or animals” and “presents little risk to humans or the environment”.

However, despite the government’s assurances that 1080 is safe, protesters have intensified their efforts this year as the conservation department has stepped up its nationwide control program as it works towards making the country pest-free by 2050.

The poison â€" which is the chemical compound sodium fluoroacetate â€" is the government’s primary tool for eradicating pests such as possums, stoats and weasels, but campaigners say it threatens native wildlife, pollutes rivers and waterways and is d angerous to humans and domestic animals.

Conservation department threats and harassment January to October 2018.
Conservation department threats and harassment January to October 2018. Photograph: Department of Conservation, New Zealand


The department’s director general, Lou Sanson, said the rise in intimidation was “extremely nasty” and the police were now involved.

On Wednesday police arrested an anti-1080 activist and charged him with four counts of blackmail regarding threatening letters he had sent to department staff in New Plymouth over the past year.

Save the kiwi: New Zealand rallies to protect its iconic bird Read more

At least one ranger is on leave after being subjected to violent threats regarding 1080.

“[Department] staff need to be able to get on with their job of protecting conservation areas without fear of being harmed or harassed,” Sanson said.

Sanson said 1080 was “the best tool” for pest control in rugged or remote areas and native forests would be devastated if the poison was not used to target invasive species and give native and endemic species a chance to recover.

Data released by the conservation department showed. there were fewer than 10 threats against staff in January but that number has increased month on month. In October more than 90 incidents were recorded, most taking the form of verbal abuse against staff, followed by social media harassment and social media threats.

Staff have been confronted and abused in cafes, on isolated roads and in forests as well as offices. One Facebook message to the department read: “if my daughter is effect by 1080 poison due to it being tossed into our water su pply, I myself will find each of you doc muppets and slaughter the skin off your faces and have you living inches before death”.

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  • Pesticides
  • Asia Pacific
  • Jacinda Ardern
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Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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Posted by On 10:37 PM

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern Has Received Death Threats From Environmental Protesters

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has received death threats from environmental activists outraged by the government’s use of a pesticide to combat invasive species.

Ardern told local TV news show Newshub on Tuesday that she had been the subject of numerous threats from so-called anti-1080 protesters, including at least one against her life.

The government says the chemical pesticide, known as 1080, is a safe substance for eliminating predators such as possums and weasels. But environmental activists contend the poison threatens native wildlife, as well as humans, and pollutes waterways.

Ardern said New Zealand welcomed peaceful protests, but “when we see that tip into violence or threats of violence against people working on the front line and doing their job, then that concern s me.”

Read more: Jacinda Ardern: Up Close With New Zealand’s Prime Minister

Anti-1080 campaigns have escalated in recent months, with employees of the country’s Department of Conservation reportedly being targeted by threats and harassment, according to the Guardian. In September, activists left fake 1080 pellets and dead protected birds on the steps of parliament. Tests later revealed some of the birds had been “bludgeoned to death” rather than poisoned.

New Zealand’s Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage accused protestors of “spreading fake news about the impact of 1080.”

Conservation staff have also had vehicles vandalized, been trapped inside national parks b y protestors blocking exits and received threats to shoot down department helicopters. In total, the Department recorded 93 incidents in October, according to Newshub.

On Wednesday, an anti-1080 activist was arrested and charged with four counts of blackmail over threatening letters sent to staff, according to the Guardian.

“My greater concern is with those on the front line who receive these threats a bit more directly and a bit more personally,” Ardern said.

Write to Eli Meixler at eli.meixler@time.com.

Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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Posted by On 12:57 PM

New Zealand fisherman's ocean rescue of toddler 'miraculous'

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) â€" A New Zealand fisherman plucked a toddler from the ocean in a "miraculous" rescue after thinking he was watching a doll float past.

Gus Hutt was at the beach checking his fishing lines at about 7:15 a.m. on Oct. 26 when he spotted the 18-month-old boy and reached out and grabbed his arm.

"Even then, I still thought it was just a doll," he told local newspaper the Whakatane Beacon. "His face looked just like porcelain with his short hair wetted down. But then he let out a little squeak and I thought 'Oh god, this is a baby and it's alive.'"

The boy, Malachi Reeve, had escaped from his parent's tent while they were sleeping while the family was camping at Matata Beach on the North Island during the quiet spring season.

Murphy's Holiday Camp co-owner Rebecca Salte r told The Associated Press that the rescue was "miraculous and fateful" after Hutt, a regular at the campground, had decided to fish at a different spot than usual and the sea had been particularly calm.

Salter said she and her husband were drinking coffee and planning out their day when the drama unfolded. They rushed to help.

"My husband came around the corner with the baby in his arms," she said. "I ran into the house and grabbed a whole heap of towels and blankets so he would be warm. He was just whimpering the whole time."

Salter said Malachi was drenched, had sand all through his hair and clothes, and was very pale. It took them a while to figure out who had lost the boy, she said, and then they woke the parents.

"They were horrified and in disbelief," Salter said. "They were woken up to find their baby wasn't there. It was surreal to everyone involved."

The boy's footprints were visible in the sand, showing where he'd wandered from the tent into the water. He'd floated about 15 meters (50 feet) before Hutt spotted him.

"If I hadn't been there or if I had just been a minute later I wouldn't have seen him," Hutt told the newspaper. "He was bloody lucky but he just wasn't meant to go. It wasn't his time."

Mom Jessica Whyte told news website Stuff that her heart just about stopped beating when she was first told Malachi had been found in the water.

"Oh god it was amazing seeing him," she told Stuff. "I gave him a big hug."

She said she wanted to warn other parents to zip their tents up tight and consider using a padlock when camping with toddlers.

Police said they attended the scene along with an ambulance, and that the boy was taken to a hospital for a check-up. Police said they didn't plan to t ake any further action in the case.

The local newspaper printed a story about the rescue last week but it took a while before other media picked up on it. Salter said they weren't used to such attention at their quiet beach.

Hutt said Malachi was doing just fine when his parents stopped by to thank him.

Source: Google News New Zealand | Netizen 24 New Zealand

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Posted by On 12:26 PM

Air New Zealand Turned Their Legendary Safety Briefing Into An Epic Music Video

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