“Tracing the Seasons, Waikanae” art by Geoff Tune


“The Tracing the Seasons series is concerned with time and generations. Tune visited Neolithic sites in Britain in 1995 exploring connections between past and present and thinking about the continuity of time. In these works the circle references huge monuments like Stonehenge as well as retaining its customary range of meanings. The square refers to the earth and the black colouration to the void from which order has been created. At this time, inspired by people making brass rubbings, he began drawing abstract layers of lines onto the imagery.” (artbureau.co.nz)

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

World Elder Abuse today

The most common form of elder abuse is financial, but there can also be physical, including, perhaps surprisingly, sexual.

Well-managed establishments for the care of elderly folk should have procedures in place for its detection and elimination. But, as we’ve commented before, some establishments are run by types whose main concern is their profits and anything else is secondary.

what’s the use of the National Poisons Centre?

poisonby Carol Sawyer

Yesterday I had a conversation with the National Poisons Centre.

Joel Lund of Wanaka had asked a GP what he would do if someone presented with poisoning symptoms after an aerial 1080 poison drop. The doctor replied he would contact the National Poisons Centre. This sounds like a sensible response, one would have thought. Think again!

I had a number of questions for the National Poisons Centre about 1080 poisoning, given that so many people live around 1080 drop zones and are potentially exposed to the substance many times over.

I asked the person who answered the phone there if she was the correct person to be talking to. She said she was.

I explained that we are about to experience another 1080 poison drop in our area (Wanaka) and asked if there were testing kits available here.

She replied, “I don’t know, and I don’t know if I could find the answer”.

I asked how many methods there are for testing for 1080 poisoning.

She replied, “I’m not too sure”.

I asked, “How quickly can they test for 1080 and get a result?”

She replied, “They wouldn’t test the person. They would probably get some history. They probably wouldn’t do a blood test. I don’t know if there is a blood test.” She said they can’t test for every poison.

I asked how accurate the testing was. At this point she seemed to realize she was out of her depth and said she would talk to the resident toxicologist.

She returned and said that there is a test available but it is not widely available. It is a urine test and is only of any use within the first 24 hours after poisoning. She said it is “affiliated to a woman at Lincoln University” but wouldn’t/couldn’t tell me who that is. She said it is mostly used for testing workers’ urine levels when they have been working with 1080 poison.

She said that the toxicologist said, “1080 doesn’t stay in your body very long”. We then had a discussion about whether it can be found in skin and bone and hair, as in animals including mammals, but she seemed stuck on the fact they only tested humans and seemed rather unreceptive to the idea humans are also mammals.¹

She said if you get poisoned they will just treat the symptoms. They won’t be bothered with what kind of poison it is. She was a bit incoherent and I had to keep asking her to slow down.

Is that a worry or what?

I asked for the name of the ‘resident toxicologist’.
“Michael,” she said.
“Michael who?” I asked
“We’re not allowed to give out surnames”, she said.

I asked if I could please speak to him.

“No you can’t.”

So there we have it. If you get poisoned by 1080 do not expect the authorities to confirm it is 1080. Just hope that you survive. If the Kochummen family who ate wild pork are anything to go by, you will probably be treated for botulism.

Sodium monofluoroacetate (1080) is a poison which is dropped indiscriminately from the air in New Zealand at the rate of approximately 4 tonnes of pure poison annually (the baits contain 0.15% pure poison). It kills human beings at the rate of 0.5 to 2 mg per kg of bodyweight (LD50 – Negherbon).

This year alone NZ is throwing enough poison on the countryside to kill 85 million people — and we don’t even test our food for 1080 residues!

Nor do we have a test readily available for 1080 poison in the human body!

1. Ross & McCoskery (2012) found residues of 1080 in the bones of poisoned deer carcasses 213 days after death…the study ended then so no one knows how long 1080 stays in bone.  Ross, J, McCoskery, H 2012. Deer carcass breakdown monitoring. Report prepared for the Animal Health Board. Wellington, New Zealand. 7 pp.

It seems from the above that if you have a suspected poisoning, whatever it may be from, a consultation with Dr Google will be more helpful. —Eds

Christchurch worker apparently poisoned by 1080

Matthew O'Brien

“Worker poisoned at pest control warehouse in Christchurch”

Although this article in the Christchurch Press (part of Stuff) today only mentions “a poisonous substance”, it’s likely 1080.

Comment by Carol Sawyer :

A contact in the poison manufacturing industry tells me :

“The way I read this, the consent has only been live for a few weeks so any toxic bait previously made and the air consequently discharged (presumably via the front roller door) was in breach of the RMA.”

This means that all of the baits made for the Hope and Cascade Valleys, Fiordland, aerial 1080 drop last year for DoC’s ‘Battering the Birds’ programme and all of the Pindone rabbit baits were made with the front roller door used as an air extractor!

I am told that the adequacy of a single bag filter system (which is sure to fail at some point) and an open-topped stack to manage toxic dust emissions is seriously questionable, as is its failure warning system, (which is based on pressure variations inside and outside). A particle sensor with alarm and auto shut-down might give the neighbours more comfort!

PCR Ltd at 8 Centrum Lane, Rolleston, got consent to manufacture 1080 baits in mid-2018. The factory is surrounded by businesses. Could the workers in those businesses have been affected by toxic 1080 poison dust coming out of the roller door? It is most certainly not in an isolated area.

Now we hear that a PCR Ltd worker had an accident in a warehouse in Bromley “processing chemicals that were going to be delivered to the main PCR office in Rolleston”. This happened on 28 May and is only just released in the news tonight, two weeks later. The last I heard the poor man was in a coma. Did the warehouse in Bromley have consents to be processing poisons?

On ‘Operation Ban 1080’, Dave Burrows has stated publicly:

“This is KiwiCare” property owned by Matthew O’Brien. It is not licensed to carry out any poison work at Bromley. He also owns 51% of PCR Ltd at Rolleston. Let us hope this does not become another coverup job!”

PCR Ltd is operated by Kiwi Care Corporation and is 49% owned by the West Coast Regional Council, and 51% owned by Pest Control Investors Ltd (O’Brien? [according to the Companies Office record, O’Brien is the sole director —Eds]).