19-E-0457 / DOC 6032471
7 August 2019
Dear Ms Enderby
Thank you for your Official Information Act request to the Department of
Conservation dated 10 July 2019. Our response to that request is set out below.
Before dealing with that there is an important administrative issue we need to
Eligibility under the Official Information Act
While we have chosen to respond on this occasion (and previously), we are mindful
that it is not clear whether you are eligible to make requests under the Official
Information Act. That issue occurs in the context you having made a number of
requests in the past and the following requests that we are presently considering:
• 19-E-0484 (submitted to the Department on 18 July 2019); and
• 19-E-0451 (submitted to the Department on 4 July 2019).
It also arises in the context of the nature and tone of requests you have made
previously, considerations around the resources we have available to respond to
requests and our obligation and ability to respond to legitimate OIA requests more
Accordingly, we have decided to ask you to provide evidence of your eligibility to
make a request under the Official Information Act. Section 12 of the Act stipulates
that in order to make a request you must be one of the following:
• a New Zealand citizen;
• a permanent resident of New Zealand;
• a person who is in New Zealand;
• a body corporate (ie, company or incorporated society) which is incorporated
in New Zealand; or
• a body corporate which has a place of business in New Zealand.
You will need to provide evidence that you meet one of the criteria set out above by
no later than Wednesday 14 August 2019
. This can be sent to us at
Conservation House - Whare Kaupapa Atawhai
PO Box 10 420, Wellington 6143
Telephone (04) 471 0726, Fax (04) 381 3057
In the event you do not meet the criteria set out in section 12(1), we are still open to
considering any requests you have or will make to us. However, in processing any
such request we would need to consider whether to impose a charge for any
information we were to decide to release to you.
Your present request
You requested the following:
[P]lease provide information on the times taken to die for protected native kea
birds after they eat 1080 poisoned food which has been spread in the kea
habitat by the NZ Dept of Conservation. Please provide the times found via
scientific studies as well as what you can estimate from your kea tracking
activities [through] poisoned food operations.
Before responding to your OIA request, we have set out the following contextual
information as it is relevant to the approach we have taken in this instance.
Benefits of predator control using aerial 1080
Kea survival is significantly impacted by stoat predation, and to a lesser extent,
predation by possums and rats. Predation will have a devastating impact on kea
populations if stoat, possum and rat numbers within kea habitats are not controlled.
Published research (https://newzealandecology.org/nzje/2072)
has confirmed that
the aerial application of 1080 is the most effective method of controlling these stoat,
possum and rat numbers, particularly across large remote areas.
Scientific studies (https://newzealandecology.org/nzje/3341)
have also linked the
effects of the aerial application of 1080 to an increase in kea nest survival.
Researchers examined the effects of aerial 1080 on the reproductive success of West
Coast kea and found that kea nest survival increased from 46.4% prior to the
application of 1080, to 84.8% after the application on 1080. Kea nest survival in areas
that were not treated with 1080 declined from 21% to 12.2% within that same period
These studies support the Department’s view that the application of aerial 1080 can
have a positive effect on kea populations.
Methods of reducing the risk of kea ingesting 1080
The Department’s “Aerial 1080 in kea habitat: Code of Practice” document sets out
protocols and processes that are in place to reduce the risk of 1080 bait intake by kea.
• using RS5 cereal baits in 1080 operations in kea habitats, as these baits are
less palatable to kea;
• using cinnamon lure which acts as a kea deterrent; and
• limiting the sowing rate for prefeed and toxic bait to limit the encounters that
kea may otherwise have with bait.
The Code of Practice is published on the Department’s website and can be accessed
via the following link: https://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/conservation/threats-
Monitoring kea using transmitters
The Department monitors kea using radio transmitters which can be used to track an
individual kea’s movement and general location. Each transmitter has an in-built
‘mortality function’ which will activate and emit a signal if the kea carrying that
transmitter has been motionless for over 8 or 12 hours. The time taken for the
mortality function to activate depends on the software installed on each transmitter.
If the Department receives a mortality signal from a kea transmitter, it would deploy
staff to locate the kea carrying that transmitter as soon as possible.
If a kea died as a result of ingesting 1080, its transmitter would emit a mortality
signal only 8 or 12 hours after its death. The transmitter cannot alert DOC staff to the
time at which the kea ingested the 1080, or the exact time of its death.
Your OIA request
For the above reasons, the Department has no means of monitoring the time taken
for kea to die as a result of ingesting 1080 and does not hold any records or
documents to that effect. Therefore, we have no option but to refuse your request
under section 18(e) of the Official Information Act 1982 because the information you
requested does not exist.
You 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
www.ombudsman.parliament.nz or freephone 0800 802 602.