Anti-1080 activist questions authenticity of threats to DoC staff, PM

Morning Talk 07/11/2018

As the claims of threats towards Department of Conservation (DoC) staff continue, an anti-1080 activist says the threats appear to him to be manufactured or false and wants to see the evidence.

On Tuesday a Newshub exclusive revealed that violence and threats of violence by anti-1080 extremists have spiked – including multiple threats against the Prime Minister and DoC workers.

In January, five incidents were recorded. That number peaked at 93 incidents last month, according to Newshub.

Jacinda Ardern says she’s received at least one death threat from anti-1080 protestors.

But Graham Carter, editor of Fishing and Outdoors Newspaper, believes the threats have been hyped by the media and there is no real evidence to suggest such threats have been made.

“If the threats were genuine and real, the police would’ve been involved, and there would have probably been arrests or some statement from the police supporting these allegations,” he told RadioLIVE.

Mr Carter believes the majority of New Zealanders are against the use and dropping of 1080.

“When you talk to people in the street, and mention 1080, they are up in arms about it.”

Speaking to Mark Sainsbury, Mr Carter agreed that violence and threats of violence in protest is “not acceptable”.

It requires protest – it doesn’t require violence or threats.

“There are activists amongst the anti-1080 people that have taken things into their own hand, and they need to be sorted out by the police. That’s what the police are for,” Mr Carter said.

He accepts there are people within the anti-1080 movement with extremist agendas.

“Look at the clowns that dumped those dead birds on the steps of Parliament – that was a stupid thing to do.

“But mainstream media took it out of proportion and blamed all anti-1080 people. That is a lie,” Mr Carter told RadioLIVE.

“It was just a small extremist group amongst the protestors.”

Meanwhile, a 65-year-old man from New Plymouth has been arrested and charged with four counts of blackmail after threatening letters were sent to the Department of Conservation.

Four letters relating to the use of 1080 were received by DoC between September 25 2017 and November 6 2018.

Police launched an "extensive investigation" and arrested the man in New Plymouth on Tuesday.

Central District Crime Manager Detective Inspector Ross McKay says the arrest sends a clear message:

"While we understand the strength of feeling by some in our community about the use of 1080, it is never acceptable for this to be expressed in the form of threats to individuals," he says.

"DoC staff should be able to go about their lawful business without the fear of threats and intimidation."

DoC says these letters were "extremely nasty" and this particular case has been "harrowing".

1080 poison. Photo: Supplied.

Science and environment writer Dave Hansford fears sooner or later death threats towards DoC staff over the use of 1080 will turn into a reality.

"There are an awful lot of threats and it may be that most of them are empty but there is going to be one and one is all it needs," he told Newshub.

"If enough wheelnuts are loosened, sooner or later innocent people are going to end up getting hurt."

Ms Ardern says the Government welcomes protest, but it's gone too far.

"When we see that tip into violence or threats of violence against people working on the front line and doing their job, then that concerns me."

And Mr Hansford says as more threats are revealed, public revulsion only increases and anti-1080 protesters are further marginalising themselves with this behavior.

Listen to the full interview with Graham Carter above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.

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