28 Sep 2018

1080 drop to go ahead at Cape Brett

8:08 pm on 28 September 2018

A 1080 aerial drop will proceed at Cape Brett over the weekend after a similar pest-poisoning operation at neighbouring Russell State Forest ended without incident today.

Looking towards Russell State Forest from Puhipuhi Hills

Looking towards Russell State Forest from Puhipuhi Hills Photo: RNZ/ Lois Williams

Department of Conservation's northern manager Sue Reid-Thomas said the Russell operation had gone smoothly, with two helicopters dropping toxin over the forest, located about 69km north of Whangārei.

She said it had been a relief to see the well-planned operation go ahead following recent tensions. Several protestors were present at the site when the operation began at 8.30am.

The Māori Land Court had earlier rejected an attempt to stop the 1080 operation.

Northland men Hayward Brown and Riki Ngatoki had sought an injunction, arguing the land was subject to Māori control and that the DOC had no consent. But the court dismissed the application and ruled the forest was Crown land and that the court had no jurisdiction.

The DOC had planned to postpone the 1080 drop in the Cape Brett area after another Māori Land Court injunction bid this morning.

However, the department confirmed it would now proceed with the drop this weekend, after objecting parties were told their case could not be heard until December.

Russell State Forest has been considered on the brink of collapse for several years, with DOC, hapū and groups such as Forest and Bird demanding urgent measures to address the situation.

Forest and Bird told RNZ this week that recent court cases were not really aimed at saving the forests and supporting the original inhabitants of the country.

Forest and Bird's Northland advocate Dean Baigent-Mercer said: "The recent court action is part of a pattern of groundless cases that are put forward as a distraction to try and stall 1080 operations to save the forest and it comes at a huge cost to the forests, because right now the birds have been making nests and laying eggs and every night means that more of them get targeted."

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