Nelson poison drop faces legal action by residents

The Government says it's disappointed by a Nelson community group launching a legal challenge against national pest control regulations.

However, the group says the Government has made it too easy for poison drops to be done and has filed a high court injunction to try to stop a poison drop at the Brook Sanctuary.

The lawyer for the residents says the Government has passed regulations that exempt aerial poison drops from meeting the usual consent requirements.

Richard Sullivan farms sheep and cattle and lives on land that's been in the family for a century.

He's concerned about the neighbouring sanctuary's plans to drop 24-tonnes of brodifacoum over its 715 hectares of land.

Mr Sullivan says if any pellets get over of the fence they won't be able to use the adjacent land for months.

"We also take a lot of our food off the hill, in terms of pigs and deer and really we won't be able to do that for quite some time, probably three years," he says.

Lawyer Sue Grey filed an injunction against the drop on Friday.

The objective is to stop the drop and get some judicial overview of what's being proposed.

"What the Government's done is it's passed regulations in April this year which exempt aerial drops of 1080 poison and brodifacoum poison from all the usual resource consent requirements," she says.

She says the new regulations do not require a buffer zone.

"So instead of public notifications, consultation... we now have this generic process where poisons take precedence over everything else," she says.

And it's not just Nelson, says Ms Grey.

"Waiheke Island, Stewart Islands, Chatham Islands can be done as a right without any public consultation or conditions."

But Brook Sanctuary says there will be a 15m buffer inside the fence, which will be ground-baited, and insists it's just following what all the other mainland sanctuaries are doing.

"If there's some that go out, in the unlikely event, we've got a crew outside the fence retrieving them," says Brook Sanctuary trustee Derek Shaw.

He says it's necessary for the Sanctuary, which could be closed for six months after the three drops.

"Otherwise, our vision of achieving a place where native wildlife and plants can thrive without predators will not be achieved," she says.

The first drop is scheduled to take place early next month.


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