Marlborough Mid-Week : October 22nd 2014
NEWS/OPINION MARLBOROUGH MIDWEEK, OCTOBER 22, 2014 15 Predator numbers give no respite This week Department of Conservation partnerships ranger Clare Moore continues her two-part column about pest numbers during the beech mast. L ast week I wrote about rat and stoat population fluctuations during mast or mass seeding years in beech forests. Today I explain what has been happening near Mt Stanley in the Marlborough Sounds and what we are doing about it. The Battle for our Birds programme targets forests where our endangered birds are most at risk from the rat and stoat plagues. Essentially it is an extension of current pest control happening in South Island forests. The programme includes Mt Stanley in Tennyson Inlet as it is an excellent representation of Marlborough Sounds flora and fauna. It is home to several species at risk from predation by rats and stoats – South Island robins, rifleman and giant land snails. Since November last year, rat densities at Mt Stanley and at the adjacent Editor Hill have been measured. Mt Stanley had a 1080 pest con- trol operation in November last year that brought rat tracking levels down to 0 per cent. This number has climbed slowly until February, when the beech mast occurred, after which it increased sharply to 61 per cent in August. This increase is greater than can be accounted for by breeding alone and is in part because of reinvasion of rats from neighbouring areas, such as Editor Hill. At Editor Hill (which had no pest control last year) in November 2013, rats were tracking at 36 per cent (compared to Mt Stanley’s 0). The numbers have also risen steeply since the beech mast and are currently 68 per cent. The predator control operation at Mt Stanley in 2013 gave the birds a short respite from predation – robin nesting success rose steeply from 22 to 78 per cent, directly after the operation. Because of the beech mast this year, the respite from predators has not lasted into this spring, hence the need for a second control operation. It is quite possible that robins will become locally extinct in some areas of the Marlborough Sounds that will have no pest control this spring, as they will not be able to cope with the huge predator numbers. Mohua extinction on Mt Stokes happened after a similar mast event. Up until 2000, Mt Stokes was the only place in Nelson and Marlborough that was home to the endangered mohua, or yellowhead. Just before that there were two consecutive summers of mass seed production in the beech forest, and the mohua became extinct from Mt Stokes in 2000 from rat and stoat predation. The Department of Conser- vation (DOC) routinely uses traps and other techniques such as bait stations to control rats, stoats and possums. Traps and bait stations will con- tinue to play a significant role in protecting threatened populations but research has shown that rapidly rising rat numbers produced by mast conditions can overwhelm trap networks. Ground-based control on its own does not protect threatened bird and bat populations from these predator explosions. More extensive aerial applications of biodegradable 1080 pesticide and a boost to ground-based trapping networks will help prevent predator numbers of plague proportions. As well as being fast and effec- tive over wide areas, aerial 1080 operations cost about a third the cost of most ground-based alternatives. Because we do not want a repeat of an extinction event like the mohua in 2000, DOC is carrying out pest control using 1080 applied by helicopter in the Mt Stanley area in October this year. For more information see the DOC website (search Battle for our Birds Tennyson). The existing science and the ongoing research helps us increase our understanding of the forces we are dealing with, and ultimately increases our ability to assist the survival of our most precious species. Birds battle: A rifleman grabs a feed. The small native birds come under intense pressure from invasive predators during the beech mast. bunal. This article will help to explain The ins and outs of the Disputes Tribunal W By RAEWYN TRETHEWAY e have heard of the Disputes Tribunal, but what is the Disputes Tri- who can use the tribunal, what it is for and what benefits does it have for the individual. The Disputes Tribunal is for civil claims that are about money. Anyone can bring a claim, as long as there is disagreement about the circumstances surrounding the claim. You cannot bring a claim to recover a debt that is not disputed, this must be dealt with via a debt collection agency. The Disputes Tribunal hears cases that are for amounts that are less than $15,000. This can be changed up to $20,000 if both parties agree. This could include matters such as: ❚ whether work has been done properly and/or the amount charged for work done ❚ whether goods purchased were what you asked for ❚ damage to property, for example a car damaged in a collision or a lawnmower lent to a neighbour that is returned damaged ❚ loss of property, for example, someone borrows a bike and doesn’t return it ❚ payment for a loss caused by misleading advertising or misleading statements made by someone selling goods or services, for example an advertisement that suggests speakers are included in a sound system when they are an extra cost ❚ whether a boundary fence needs replacing or how costs will be shared ❚ hire purchase agreements ❚ denying that you owe money for an account sent to you. The Disputes Tribunal cannot be used for disputes about: ❚ rates, taxes, social welfare benefits or ACC payments ❚ parenting or care of children ❚ matrimonial property ❚ wills ❚ ownership of land ❚ the value of goodwill with a busi- ness that is bought or sold ❚ trade secrets or other intellectual property such as copyright. Disputes involving these all have their own forums or processes for resolution. While the Disputes Tribunal is an official body, it is much less formal than the courts. There are no lawyers or judges; simply a trained referee who can hear your dispute. The costs are low compared to a court. This makes the Tribunal a much more accessible way to resolve disputes that are not about large sums of money. The decision is binding on the parties, therefore it is absolutely essential you attend your Disputes Tribunal hearing, as an order can be made against you if do not attend. Photo:MF SOPER/DOC If you lose your case or have an order made against you, then you have 20 days (from the Tribunal’s order) to appeal to the District Court. You would need to argue and prove that the investigation or hearing conducted was unfair and prejudiced your case. The Disputes Tribunal website, justice.govt.nz/tribunals/disputestribunal, has all the forms necessary for lodging a claim. You can do this via the website, by printing out the forms and posting them, or by visiting a Community Law Centre or getting the forms from the website. As well, the website and law centres have information and examples of how to fill out the forms, and can advise what information will be needed to help support your claim.
October 15th 2014
October 29th 2014