12 Dec 2018

Anti-1080 float wins top prize at Taupō Christmas Parade

From Checkpoint, 5:54 pm on 12 December 2018

The mayor of Taupō says he's had several complaints about an anti-1080 float which featured in the town's Christmas Parade and managed to win a top entry award.

Anti-1080 float in Taupo Christmas Parade.

The float was the winner of one of the five top entry awards. Photo: Facebook / Carol Sawyer

The parade, which is privately organised but receives $2000 from Taupō District Council, ran earlier this month and featured around 30 floats - mainly from schools and community groups.

But one featured a truck covered in trees and bush, a coffin emblazoned with pictures of native New Zealand birds, and signs with slogans such as "poison free wild foods" and "ban 1080".

A group called Compassionate Conservation was behind it - but parade organiser John Burnside said he didn't know what that would involve.

"On the entry form they're supposed to describe their float and they just had conservation, and that's about it.

"I quite often have no idea what the floats have on them until they turn up."

He said he received one complaint regarding the anti-1080 float but personally didn't see a problem with it featuring alongside the more traditional Christmas line up.

"Well it looked like a load of bush going down the street from what I recall, and all I saw was this green thing."

Anti-1080 float in Taupo Christmas Parade.

Parade organiser John Burnside said he didn't see a problem with the float. Photo: Facebook / Carol Sawyer

The float was the winner of one of the five top entry awards and received $200 of the prize money which was put up by Taupō District Council.

Taupō Mayor David Trewavas wasn't at the parade but said he had received several emails people who weren't happy to see it, and was surprised that it made it in.

"It wasn't a council event, it wasn't organised by us, but we do provide funding for it so we've talked to the organisers and said next year we would like to have some input to make sure the floats are acceptable to the Christmas theme."

He wouldn't rule out allowing another anti-1080 float in next year's parade.

"My idea of a Christmas parade is you know, for the fun and the joys of Christmas and all that sort of thing. Having said that I know there's a lot of people who are particular about this subject."

It was today revealed that none of the birds which were dumped on the steps of Parliament as part of a protest earlier this year actually died from the poison.

Autopsy results show two of the birds were hit by vehicles, two flew into windows, one was too decomposed to tell the cause of death and an adult Weka appears to have been shot, most likely with a .22 rifle.

Forest and Bird has condemned the act and said 1080 was needed now more than ever to protect New Zealand's precious bird species.