19-E-0368 / DOC 6025433
31 July 2019
Dear Ms Enderby
We refer to your Official Information Act request to the Department of Conservation
dated 5 June 2019, relating to the 2011 Okarito pest control operation.
We previously responded to a part of that request, and sought an extension to the
remainder of that request, in our letter to you dated 3 July 2019. This letter is
intended to provide you with an update on some of the points that were explained in
our 3 July letter, and to provide a response to the part of your request that was
Photos of kea
In your request, you asked that we provide copies of the photos of kea that died as a
result of the 2011 Okarito operation, including photos of any necropsies that were
carried out on those kea.
In our 3 July letter, we informed you that that information will soon be publicly
available on the Department’s website. We have been taking the necessary steps to
publish this information on the Department’s website and anticipate that this
information will be available to you soon.
For the avoidance of doubt, we note that none of the photos that fall within the scope
of your request capture the necropsies that were performed on these kea. The
department does not hold any such photos and nor are we aware of any having been
taken in relation to the kea killed during the 2011 Okarito operation.
We will be in touch to let you know how you can view the photos that do fall w ithin
the scope of your request once they are published on the Department’s website.
The 2011 Okarito operation
Y ou requested that we provide the names of the contractor and air operator that
carried out the 2011 Okarito operation. You also requested that we provide the nam e
of the staff member that “signed off and approved the spreading of this poisoned
food to the kea
There were two parts to the 2011 Okarito operation – one delivered by the
Department of Conservation (“the DOC component”) and the other delivered by the
Animal Health Board (“the AHB component”).
Conservation House - Whare Kaupapa Atawhai
PO Box 10 420, Wellington 6143
Telephone (04) 471 0726, Fax (04) 381 3057
The DOC component was carried out for the purposes of controlling possum and ship
rat numbers in an effort to protect rowi chicks that inhabited that area. This part of
the operation was carried out by Department personnel alongside staff from Vector
Control Services (which is a business unit of the West Coast Regional Council).
The AHB component of the operation aimed to reduce the spread of bovine
tuberculosis (TB) in possums by controlling possum numbers. The AHB com ponent
was delivered by Vector Control Services on behalf of the Animal Health Board.
I have decided to withhold the names of the Department’s staff members and VCS
employees, under sections 9(2)(a) and 9(2)(g) of the Official Information Act 1982 (to
protect the privacy of natural persons and prevent any improper pressure or
harassment of officials or employees). In making this decision, I have taken into
account the public interest considerations set out in section 9(1) of the Official
The DOC component and the AHB component were both approved and signed off by
Mike Slater, Conservator, of the Department of Conservation. I note that these
approvals were not granted for “the spreading of poisoned food to kea” as you have
claimed, but for the application of 1080 for the purposes of protecting rowi chicks
and reducing the spread of bovine TB by controlling possum and ship rat numbers.
Y ou have the right to seek an investigation and review by the Ombudsman of this
decision. Information about how you can make a complaint is available at
or freephone 0800 802 602.
Y ours sincerely