I won't traverse what happened at the meeting, save to note that it was my job to wrap up the meeting, and to point to what needs to happen next. As part of that I observed that there will likely need to be a further meeting - due to the level of public interest - but also to answer questions that were raised from the floor, and which were not addressed.
I called for a couple of pieces of work to be done. And have since written to, and requested information from ARC officers as follows:
1) That information/advice is required in relation to the effects of brodifacoum in the marine environment, and the extent of its effects on/in the marine food chain.
2) That appropriate public information and advice is required for users of Narrowneck and Cheltenham Beaches.
In the aftermath of the meeting I learned the following, from people who approached me:- the North Shore Surfcasting Club was well represented in the attendance, but only one asked a question (in relation to his son who was fishing off Rangitoto rocks at the time of the/a drop. Several comments were made to me. By the secretary of the club: "a mate of mine was fishing 50 metres off Rangitoto at the time. It was like a severe hail storm. His boat was 'half full' of pellets. Another guy I know was fishing 150 metres off shore. He got hit too. We want to know about snapper fishing there now...." . Another fisherman: "I go there fishing now anyway, and catch and eat the snapper I catch, but I am a bit worried. What's the story...?" And another fisherman: "a mate of mine is a crayfisherman at Kaikoura. He has visited the place where that truck full of rat poison crashed. He says what's odd is that the area is completely free of any form of life - no insects, no limpets, no crabs, nothing. Whereas on either side its all good. What does that mean for Rangitoto...?"
- another man told me he lives near Warkworth and claimed that the helicopters - for the first drop - had been loaded somewhere there, and then flew to Rangitoto with open hoppers, dropping some pellets on the way. He understands that for drops 2 and 3 the helicopters loaded at Motutapu. He believes that pellets were dropped - accidently - between the loading point (for drop 1) and Rangitoto, and that there has been adverse effects.
That is at the heart of what I learned.
So now I would like from ARC, or from DOC via ARC, answers to these questions:
1) I would like to know exactly what happened in regard to the drop operation: how many helicopters were used for each drop? where they loaded? whether hoppers were covered or uncovered? whether records were taken in regard to whether pellets dropped in the sea at any point.
2) Please provide information as to the fate of brodifacoum that is dropped in the sea, and what is known about how it may enter the marine foodchain. Also what is NOT known and is being researched.
3) Please provide me with a copy of the ARC consent for this operation, and the related conditions.
4) Please provide me with copies of any monitoring or related reports that have been prepared subsequent to any of the drops, whether by ARC or DOC or agents acting for either institution.
Finally, I would appreciate advice as to how the general requests I made at the meeting (summarised above) can be met. I would also appreciate your advice as to what NSCC's role should be in regard to ensuring its beaches are kept free of health risks - such as washed up sea-slugs.
So. Those are the questions and requests for information that I have put in front of the responsible ARC officers. When further information comes to hand, then it may be most appropriate to set up a further public meeting. You will be kept advised.