For me, one of the most striking issues emerging from last year's TB Free aerial drops of 1080 in our National Park was the onslaught of verbal abuse from the outliers in the local anti-1080 movement.

Abuse directed towards iwi leaders for granting permission for the drop to take place.
It is to their credit that, in the face of such abuse, local iwi Ngati Rangi embarked on a research project to ascertain for themselves the effectiveness of the drop, and its effects on the environment in the drop zone.

Read more: Anti-1080 protesters converge on Whanganui
1080 protestors outside the Orillion factory

Noting a significant amount of outright lying on social media locally regarding the drop, I decided to highlight the Ngati Rangi research project on the National Park Community page.

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The response from the outliers in the anti-1080 movement was sadly predictable — my personal integrity was called into question along with my integrity as a community board member.

Fanciful allegation with no basis in fact has — and is — being spread throughout social media in order to both discredit me personally and as a board member.

I have repeatedly suggested that my detractors make a formal complaint through the code of conduct process to no avail. They prefer to continue making unsubstantiated allegations on social media knowing they will never be called to account.

To set the record straight, decisions around the use of 1080 are not a matter for community boards. We are consulted as a matter courtesy but have only the influence of personal opinion.

Nevertheless, as we have chosen to take a leading role in our communities, it is my view that it is incumbent upon us speak out and to face down the misinformation, fake news, personal abuse, and manipulation of public fear that happens when you support the use of 1080.

It is used to reduce the incidence of TB in our national dairy and beef herds, and supports the moral imperative of kaitiakitanga of preserving our native species for future generations.

It has been in use for some time in New Zealand and during that period a significant body of peer-reviewed scientific research has shown its use to be both safe and effective.

I should make it clear that I do not speak on behalf of my fellow board members — who must decide how they choose to approach these issues — nor on the behalf of the board, only for myself.

The use of 1080 is an emotive issue. Some will personally never sanction its use, no matter what evidence is presented to demonstrate its safety and efficacy in reducing TB in our national herd and helping to preserve our threatened native species.
Majorities, however, see the importance of these issues and support the use of 1080 until an alternative can be found. I am one of them.

John Chapman is a member of Ruapehu District Council's National Park Community Board