David Seymour rejects that ACT's paying lip service to anti-1080 activists with conservation policy

David Seymour has rejected that the ACT Party is paying lip service to anti-1080 activists by including a pledge to find alternatives to using the poison in its conservation policy

Seymour launched the ACT Party's election campaign policies on Sunday during which ACT's third-ranked member Nicole McKee aired her strong opposition to 1080

"After a 1080 drop the silence in our bush is deafening," McKee said. "I despise it."   

Seymour said ACT has a "rational" view on 1080 and that it's a "necessary poison" - but he thinks the Department of Conservation should be more focused on finding different ways to protect unique flora and fauna. 

Newshub revealed last year that the Department of Conservation has increased spending on finding alternatives to 1080 in recent years - but Seymour wants more resources put towards it. 

"I think ultimately what comes out of the Department of Conservation is that they're not as serious about it as they could be. I think if given the opportunity they will just keep on using 1080 indiscriminately," he told Magic Talk.

"I think what the Government needs to do is say, 'What is your actual policy and your statement of position on minimising this?' They're not doing that and instead they're paying lip service and carrying on."

Magic Talk host Sean Plunket told Seymour the same could be said of ACT. 

"In the absence of a specific policy or a request for more funding or a specific research project, I can't see it as anything but lip service."

Seymour pushed back. He said ACT has put forward a policy and that ahead of the September election the public needs to know where the party stands on the controversial poison. 

"It's telling people exactly where you stand and it's the rational position... Our policy is to keep the pressure on, that we do need to find alternatives. I think it's useful for people to know that's where we stand."

ACT is proposing ring-fenced contestable science funding to prioritise research and development into viable alternatives to 1080. 

ACT would also require the Department of Conservation to "use all measures and resources at their disposal to minimise the by-kill of game animals and other non-target species during 1080 operations". 

New Zealand First is also opposed to the use of 1080. 

Back in November it celebrated $3.5 million from the Provincial Growth Fund going towards developing predator control approaches to help reduce the need for repeated 1080 use.

Green MP and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has stopped work being done to use genetic engineering as a solution to dropping 1080, despite official advice suggesting it could be used to help rid New Zealand of predators.

Sage believes 1080 is the safest and most effective means of getting rid of pests. 

"Aerial operations using biodegradable 1080 are the safest and most effective means of knocking down rats, stoats and possums over large areas of rugged terrain," she told Newshub in 2019. 

You can read more about 1080 here