Waste dump

By Carol Sawyer

Horizons Regional Council have a long history of being lax about 1080 poison going into their region’s landfills it seems.

I wrote the following in January 2017:

“George Robinson has worked in the pest control industry all his life. When he left the Manawatu/Wanganui (Horizons) Regional Council he had a gagging order put on him, but that time period is now up.

This is the story he told me:

They used to use (up to 2008-2009 that he knows of) 20% 1080 stock solution and dilute it to a field solution to put it on the green-dyed carrots, for rabbits. He said they had back packs and had it running down their arms, legs, backs… They used to find dead birds everywhere, blackbirds especially. They were told it all dissolved in water and broke down.

They had a big holding tank and the stock solution could be held for up to 7 or 8 years before it was no good, but a man from a waste removal transport company would come along and pump out the holding tank. He would take it down to the Palmerston North landfill and spread it all over the ground, driving round in a circle. George says this guy was a straight-up sort of chap who was amazed that he was given permission to do it.”


Also the 66 tonnes of 1080 poison baits, unused at Makarora, Mt Aspiring National Park, in 2015, ended up being trucked to a Manawatu-Wanganui region landfill according to an OIA response from DoC to Ray Thompson in February 2017 – an identical performance to the 16 tonne one in this recent Radio NZ report attached. 66 tonnes of 1080 baits contain enough pure 1080 to kill 1,414,286 x 70 kg people and poison another 1,414,286 people ( LD50 0.5 to 2 mg per kg bodywight, Negherbon)


If I hadn’t been alerted to a rumour about JJ Nolan’s Haast (Okuru) flood-damaged storage shed, and if Joel Lund had not then gone from Wanaka to Haast and bravely taken photographs of same with a good zoom lens (because we could not be sure until then which building it was, and needed proof – the HazChem sign) and undergone on-site interrogation while he was about it (!), and if Richard Healey had not done terrific captions and graphics plotting the old water courses in the area, and also calculated the size of the storage shed from the photographs, and if Kathy White hadn’t nudged me into sending an OIA request to Worksafe (I hate doing OIAs) which confirmed that flood-damaged bait was disposed of, and if David Haynes had not followed up with a more specific OIA request to the EPA which confirmed quantity, destination and method of disposal, this Radio NZ story would never have emerged.¹

The story in more detail is here:

These stories are almost always a joint effort and this is the true power of the anti-1080 movement. So much unacceptable carelessness and dangerous practice is hidden from the public by the Dept of Conservation. It is, frankly, disgusting behaviour. But… it is getting harder and harder for them to hide the truth!

The Radio NZ report audio file (3 min 37 secs) from 12 July 2019 is here


  1. Organisations like Worksafe, DoC, OSPRI, EPA consistently use the full legal limit of 20 working days before responding, and more and more frequently are claiming a need for extensions of time. The flood happened in mid-March and it has taken four months to get even this small part of the story into the media – such are the holdups imposed on obtaining information which it is our legal right to have.