Home' Greymouth Star : March 3rd 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, March 3, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1869 - Death of King Billy (William
Lanney), last full-blood Aborigine in
1924 - Mustafa Kemal continues his reforms
to modernise Turkey, abolishing the Caliphate.
1931 - e Star-Spangled Banner o cially
becomes the national anthem of the
1943 - 178 people are killed in
an accident at an air raid shelter in
London's Bethnal Green, in World
1959 - Death of Lou Costello,
American actor famous in comedy
duo with Bud Abbott.
1974 - Turkish airliner crashes in forest near
Paris, killing 345 people.
1978 - e remains of actor-comedian
Charles Chaplin are stolen by extortionists
from his grave.
1986 - Protestant militants go on car-burning
rampage in central Belfast, Northern Ireland,
in protest against Anglo-Irish accord.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
George Pullman, American inventor of
Pullman railway carriages, (1831-1897);
Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-American
inventor of telephone (1847-1922); Jean
Harlow, US actress, (1911-1937);
James Doohan, US actor (1920-
2005); Tim Kazurinsky, US
actor-director (1950-); Miranda
Richardson, British actress (1958-);
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, US athlete
(1962-); Tone-Loc, US rapper-
actor (1966-); David Faustino, US
actor (1974-); Ronan Keating, Irish
pop singer (1977-); Jessica Biel, US actress
"America is a tune. It must be sung together."
--- Gerald Stanley Lee, American clergyman
and author (1862-1944).
"Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you.
I do not give to you as the world gives. Do
not let your hearts be troubled and do not be
afraid." --- ( John 14:27).
Refusal by the
Mines Department to
allow an independent
umpire to judge
whether or not two working places in the new
Liverpool No 3 State mine are wet --- so as to
qualify for an hour shorter shift --- has been
given as the background reason for a dispute
which idled Liverpool and Strongman mines
e management's approach to this point
and its subsequent attitude were described
today as a " agrant breach" of the agreement
for working the new colliery by the president
of the Runanga State Miners' Union Mr R H
Mitchell. e district manager of Mines, Mr J
W Glendenning, declined to make a statement.
"It is regrettable to see services which have
lled such a useful purpose over the years
gradually fade away like old soldiers," said the
No 8 Transport Licensing Authority, Mr J S
Haywood, in Greymouth this morning. Mr
Haywood was delivering his nding on an
application by Isabella McGlashan, trading as
McGlashan Motors, for the deletion of some
of the passenger ser vices operating between
Cobden and Greymouth.
Mr D J Tucker said that the grounds for the
application were that the services were quite
uneconomic. e receipts did not pay for the
In granting the application Mr Haywood
said it had arisen from a set of circumstances,
both nancial and statistical, which followed
an all-too-familiar pattern. Where services
were uneconomic the obvious thing to do was
to abandon them. e burden of providing
poorly-patronised services could not be
justi ed on any account at all.
uToday s birthdays
uFood for thought
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Chief Reporter Laura Mills
03 769 7913
03 755 8422
In South Island beech forests,
rangers are collecting branches
from the canopy of native forests
to see how much food is around
for native wildlife --- and pests.
e signs are that the forest
larder this year will be abundant, which
means predator numbers will multiply
rapidly to plague proportions.
e rat population, encouraged by the
bounty of seeds dropping from the heavy
owering season, alone could reach 4
is explosion in numbers of rats and
mice, and stoats which kill rodents and
devastate birdlife, puts native fauna in the
ring line of introduced mammals. Come
spring, swarms of hungry predators are
expected to turn their sights on high-risk
species such as yellowhead, kaka, kiwi, bats
Unless that is, the most sweeping aerial
assault ever undertaken in New Zealand
using the poison 1080 disrupts what
ecologists call the "predator plague cycle".
Scientists say the Department of
Conser vation has no choice.
"In places that are not protected from
predators, many of our iconic native birds,
lizards, frogs, weta and snails will continue
to decline," pest expert Dr Andrea Byrom
of Landcare told the Science Media
"With the pest control plan outlined
for the 35 sites around the country, these
species will have a chance."
We have been here before. In 2000,
during a similar "mast" (high seed
production) year, a local mohua or
yellowhead population was wiped out in
the Marlborough Sounds and its numbers
slumped in Canterbury, Otago, Southland
Nationally, there are fewer than 5000 of
the little birds left. If they disappear from
forests, they will be seen only on $100
DOC intends to drop some 650 tonnes
of bait containing 975kg of 1080 on
500,000ha of native forest, most of it in
the South Island. e targeted areas cover
some of the country's most dramatic
settings --- and where high-value,
backcountry freshwater shing spots can
e poison project, which DOC has
branded the 'Battle for our Birds', has
largely been applauded, despite the
controversial history of 1080.
Federated Farmers and Forest and Bird,
two groups which often nd themselves
on opposite sides of environmental fences,
have joined forces in shared initiative
backing use of the poison, which has been
subject to dozens of scienti c studies.
e Parliamentary Commissioner for
the Environment, Jan Wright, has twice
reviewed 1080 and each time strongly
endorsed its use.
Compared with alternative methods of
nailing pests --- trapping, other poisons or
biological control --- none, she said, "come
close to replacing 1080".
Her last report concluded: "We are lucky
to have it."
But one group, which claims the support
of thousands, has serious reservations
about the aerial bombardment timed for
e NZ Federation of Freshwater
Anglers has warned its members not to eat
trout or eels from areas targeted by DOC
because of a risk of 1080 poison in sh.
Federation president David Haynes said
the warning to all anglers and customary
harvesters was for at least a year.
Trout could absorb 1080 by eating mice
which had feasted on 1080 bait --- what
is called "secondary" poisoning. And as
anyone who had caught trophy-sized trout
in remote rivers and streams knew, the
prized sh could be full of mice.
Said Haynes, a former research chemist:
"All I'm saying is do the research on
the secondary poisoning of trout from
ingesting small mice.
"We know they eat mice. We know that
mice can tolerate a lot more 1080 than
"All we're saying is test it guys for the
sake of 100,000 anglers in New Zealand
and overseas visitors. If you can spend
$21m spreading 1080 then you can spend
a bit on this research."
DOC initially scotched the suggestion,
accusing the federation of making
Landcare Research scientist Dr Penny
Fisher, a 1080 expert, said she was not
aware of any documented cases of massive
secondary poisoning of trout and eels
from more than two decades of aerial
In the late 1970s, researchers force-fed
trout with 1080 bait "to no visible e ect".
Eels which ate 1080-poisoned possums
in a later trial were found to have
extremely low levels of the pesticide in
their esh, which passed from the animal
in a few days.
Responding to the Waikato Regional
Council, which had asked about the
federation's warning, Dr Fisher replied:
"Given all these factors and probabilities,
some potential exists for people to be
exposed to 1080 through catching and
eating a sh from within a baited area
within a limited period.
"However the likelihood of this exposure
being su cient to cause poisoning of
people is very low."
Last week, after initially rubbishing the
anglers' lobby claims, DOC agreed to a
e department's deputy director
general Kevin O'Connor said that
scienti c studies indicated that 1080
drops posed little risk to freshwater sh
or to humans consuming trout or eels. He
noted while research involving trout had
not been done, studies on eels suggested
that an 85kg adult would need "to eat
more than 7 tonnes of eel meat in one
sitting to have 50% chance of receiving a
But he said that to reassure concerns
raised by some anglers, the department
had agreed to work with Fish and Game
on a practical programme for monitoring
the impact on trout of its planned 1080
Dr Fisher suggested that anglers and
other users of areas where 1080 could
be applied should stay informed about
baiting operations and check with DOC
before heading for their favourite spot.
She noted that on-line advice about
pesticide use included information about
bu er zones for taking and eating wild
animals from operational areas.
"Anglers could choose to apply these
to sh they catch," she said. "Or to limit
themselves to only catch-and-release
shing in such areas."
is country is the world's biggest user
of 1080. Each year we use about 80% of
world production in relentless attacks
on pests including possums --- which
both imperil native birds and spread Tb
among cattle --- rats and rabbits. About
500,000ha --- 2% of land area --- gets
an annual dump of 1080. Since 2008,
between one and two tonnes a year of
pure 1080 has gone into baits for pest
e poison, which kills mammals by
shutting down the energy they need, is
imported as raw powder from the United
States, where it is made at a plant in
In the United States, use of 1080 is
limited to its containment in collars
tted to livestock as a deterrent to coyote
attacks. e poison collars release a lethal
dose when the wild canines attack sheep
by the throat but it is a costly form of
stock protection and predator control.
With a review of the poison in the US
due in 2016, the future of the American
manufacturer is uncertain.
Here the Government-owned Animal
Control Products, which turns the pure
poison into much diluted pesticide and
sells it to licensed pest control operators
as pellets or gel, does not at this stage see
a need to make 1080.
e Whanganui-based company says
its prefers to retain bu er stocks to
protect supplies, rather than building a
plant to make the poison. Besides 1080
products, the company makes a range
of anti-coagulant poisons for possum
control, which do not require users to be
licensed, and which it exports to a range
e company, which did not return calls,
said in its 2013 annual report that it held
7.67 tonnes of 1080 powder, which would
appear more than enough to meet the
increased poisoning operations planned
for later this year and the next few years.
e 'battle for the birds' project is
scheduled to run for ve years at a cost of
$21 million, with a share of the budget
going to Animal Control Products. e
large-scale 1080 drops planned by the
Department of Conservation should
result in the poison maker turning a
bigger pro t and making larger returns
to the Crown, as it is required to do as a
e timing could not be better. ough
it made $500,000 in dividend payments
last nancial year, the company's revenue
was nearly a third short of its 2013 budget
and its pre-tax pro t of $610,000 was
below its target of just over $1 million.
Chairman Derek Kirke noted in the
report that the company faced a number
of challenges, including a constrained
domestic market "and the distractions of
continuing anti-1080 sentiment".
e Environmental Protection
Authority, which monitors 1080
operations, last year issued a ve-year
review of its use and called the poison
"the only viable option to control pests in
our native ecosystems and to control Tb".
EPA chair woman Kerry Prendergast
said the review backed up the ndings
of a similar assessment in 2007 that "the
bene ts of 1080 use outweigh the risks".
--- New Zealand Herald
1080 to rain down
Clarence Birdseye did not invent
frozen food, but he is credited
with creating the industry by
developing a ash-freezing
process that was commercially
viable and produced frozen food
people were willing to eat.
Freezing gave consumers an
important new choice; no longer
did they have to choose between
canned foods, salted foods or
simply going without when fresh
was not available.
"He made it possible for people
to have frozen food that had its
original avour, colour, texture
and taste," says Paula J Johnson,
a curator in the division of work
and industry at the Smithsonian's
National Museum of American
History in Washington.
"He brought the process to
everybody, and that was a big deal
--- and it continues to be. Frozen
food is something a lot of people
Indeed. Retail sales of frozen
foods in the United States through
all retail channels totalled $48.85
billion in 2012, according to
gures provided by Corey Henry,
vice president of communications
for the American Frozen Food
Institute. at's about 8% of total
grocery sales, which may not sound
like much unless you consider that
the meat/ sh/poultry sector counts
for about 13%, and produce is at
11%, he says.
"Everything in the frozen food
aisle is a result of his innovation,"
Henry says of Birdseye.
No wonder Mark Kurlansky
titled his biography of the man
Birdseye: e Adventures of a
In the book, he traces Birdseye
from his birth in Brooklyn, to
his early adventures researching
Rocky Mountain spotted fever to
his job as fur trader in Labrador
about 1912. It was there, watching
the local Inuit people ice- shing,
that Birdseye noticed how
the catch would freeze almost
instantly in the subzero air and,
later, when thawed and cooked,
tasted almost like fresh. He
became fascinated with the idea
Birdseye's experiments with
freezing were not altruistic, as
Kurlansky noted in his book.
American inventors expected to
make money --- lots of money,
hopefully --- on their projects.
Birdseye struggled in the
beginning as he set out to develop
a viable commercial freezing
process. His rst tools were later
famously described as an electric
fan, ice cakes and salt brine,
costing about $10. His second
venture, General Seafoods Corp,
was sold to Postum Cereal Co
and Goldman Sachs Trading
Corp in 1929, along with
Birdseye's patents related to the
freezing process, for about $28.2
million, according to Kurlansky.
He was set for life but remained
becomingly modest about his
"To be perfectly honest,"
Birdseye told e American
Magazine in 1951, "I am best
described as just a guy with a very
large bump of curiosity and a
Birdseye stayed on with the
company, which had been
renamed General Foods, and
continued to work on the frozen
food concept. e resulting
product line, sold then and now
under the soon-iconic brand
name of Birds Eye, was launched
in Spring eld, Massachusetts, in
1930 at 18 markets.
Although most famous for
frozen food, Birdseye worked on
a number of other innovations.
He was, as Johnson noted, one
of those American inventors
of the late 19th and early 20th
century who was always creating
Birdseye experimented with
dehydrating food and developed a
light bulb with a built-in re ector.
At the time of his death at age 69
in 1956, he was working on ways
to make paper from sugar cane
Kurlansky believes Birdseye
would be "favourably impressed"
by the modern frozen food
industry. Both in his biography
and in an interview, the author
wonders what Birdseye would
make of various movements that
run counter to industrialised food.
" ey are so contrary to all of
his thinking," Kurlansky says,
using as an example the locavore
movement with its emphasis on
local, sustainable and seasonal
Birdseye, he believes, would
be perplexed that anyone would
spurn the possibility of obtaining
food from around the world.
"He created an industry,
which is what he set out to do,"
"He was someone who came
out of the Industrial Revolution,
and people of his generation loved
industry, just like young people
today think you should digitise
everything." --- MCT
How Clarence Birdseye changed the world
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