Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust Brodifacoum Drop FAQs
1 Consent Process
Resource consents for the use of hazardous substances and for aerial discharge of brodifacoum were granted in 2016.
The requirement for a resource consent for the discharge of brodifacoum inside a predator proof fence was removed by the Government introducing the Resource Management (Exemption) Regulations 2017.
The Council accepted the Trust’s application to surrender its resource consent for the aerial discharge of brodifacoum within the predator proof fence under the Regulations.
Resource consent for the use of hazardous substances is still required and remains in place.
Relevant landowner approvals under both the Resource Management Act and Reserves Act are in place.
The Council is not the organisation undertaking the activity. The Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust is responsible for the activity. Council understands that for the first drop, the Trust placed notices in the newspaper and contacted adjoining landowners directly.
In relation to notification under the RMA, the Regulations require the Trust to give notice to the Council at least 48 hours prior to a drop. The Regulations do not require notification of other parties.
The Trust is also required to provide notice, including to the public and adjoining landowners, under the Code for using brodifacoum. The Trust has advised the Council that it has and will continue to comply with these requirements. The Ministry of Primary Industries is the lead agency concerning compliance with the Code.
The Trust should be contacted directly for further information on future drops.
3 Trespass Notice
Nelson City Council has powers under the Reserves Act to take action under the Trespass Act 1980 and to authorise others to act under its authority.
An occupier under the Trespass Act includes those authorised by the Council, e.g. the Trust.
Nelson City Council respects rights to undertake lawful protests. Some limitations on these rights are justified to ensure the safety of persons and property, and the proper management and control of land the Council administers.
The Council has worked and will continue to work with parties to resolve particular issues arising from the first drop and to attempt to reach agreements for reasonable access arrangements for any future drops.
4 Loading Area
The Trust’s resource consent application included using the reserve adjoining, but outside of, the predator proof fence for loading the helicopter during the aerial operations. The consent for handling hazardous substances was granted and remains in place (the Exemption Regulations only apply to activity inside the fence). Loading the baits does not require a discharge consent.
The Council has also provided landowner authority under the Reserves Act for the Trust to use this land. This includes short term restrictions on public access and is provided for in the reserve management plan.
Control of the location of the loading area rests with the Trust during the operations.
Council contractors were on site to monitor the operation including signage.
The Trust complied with landowner and resource consent requirements regarding signage on the boundary of the site.
The predator proof fence is fit for purpose. This has been confirmed by the High Court. The Court considered evidence and submissions about the fence from the Trust and the Brook Valley Community Group before arriving at that decision.
The control of the helicopter loading site is a matter for the Trust and for relevant agencies.
Fencing required under the Code for using brodifacoum was in place during the operation.
7 Fuel Spill
As a result of a hole being drilled by unknown persons in the fuel tank, there was a fuel spill at the skid site. When the spill was detected the fuel had already penetrated into the ground and there was little visible on the surface. The police have been notified.
The spill has caused significant environmental contamination and potential breaches of the Resource Management Act 1991 and the Reserves Act 1977. An independent review is currently being undertaken on the effects of the spill. The outcome of that review will determine what further action is required.
8 Dust and Other Effects
The brodifacoum being used is in a hard waxed pellet form at a concentration of 0.002%. Negligible (if any) contaminated dust is generated. The active ingredient is sold over the counter to the general public at a greater concentration of 0.005%.
Independent environmental experts and public health officials have provided advice on the operation. That advice is being complied with. The effects, including for the loading site, were assessed through the resource consent process.
The High Court stated: “Here [for the Brook Sanctuary], the risk regarding the use of brodifacoum has been assessed many times by a variety of different departments, agencies, council planners and scientists as acceptably low, when used with appropriate constraints. I have not been persuaded by my review of the affidavit evidence that this risk assessment is so wrong as to be untenable.”
Dust is being monitored on site. Pre- and post-drop sediment and water quality monitoring is being undertaken.
The Environmental Protection Agency assessed a complaint of brodifacoum dust exposure at Brook Valley Camp Ground and found it “extremely unlikely” that any exposure occurred and attributed it to pollen and dust generated by helicopter rotors.
9 Alternative Options
Suggestions have been made about alternative controls, e.g. trapping. These alternatives were explored by the Trust and the decision on brodifacoum was the Trust’s decision. Evidence concerning the assessment of alternatives was provided to the Independent Commissioner as part of the resource consent process and more recently in evidence before the High Court.
Worksafe New Zealand has been notified of the operation and it is primarily their and the Trust’s responsibility to manage on-site health and safety matters. The Council is being advised of the outcomes of any incidents that were reported.