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Trevor Mallard threatened with legal action over dead native birds

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 14/09/2018

© Hannah Peters/Getty Images An anti-1080 activist is threatening to take the Parliamentary Speaker Trevor Mallard to court over comments that dead native birds laid on the steps of Parliament as part of a protest appeared to have been bludgeoned.

Five native birds, including kererū and weka, were strewn across Parliament's steps on Wednesday, in what activists labelled "an act of theatre."

At a press conference yesterday, Mr Mallard said he had received expert advice the birds had been bludgeoned to death.

"I've been briefed today that the birds died from blunt force trauma," he said.

"There's work that is going on to finally establish that, and that will involve an investigation at Massey University followed by lankier research doing a toxicology check on the birds but the expert advice is that the birds were almost certainly bludgeoned to death."

But, anti-1080 protester, Alan Gurden, said that statement was ridiculous and said he would be suing for slander.

"I will definitely be taking him to court for defamation and slander of my character and that of my fellow protesters if he does not talk to Jacinda [Ardern] and make her agree to give me a meeting with a full parliamentary sitting, for a full day, to give them a presentation of the truth," he said.

"If they are forthcoming with this meeting that we were promised then I may reconsider not taking him to court."

Mr Gurden said there was no way the birds had been bludgeoned.

"Trevor Mallard has made an absolutely false and ludicrously untrue statement in saying they were bludgeoned," he said.

"Now we took photographs and footage of those birds, none of them appeared bludgeoned to me."

Some of the birds were roadkill, while others were picked up from a 1080 dropzone in 2014, Mr Gurden said.

However, he could not say for sure if they died as a result of 1080.

"My acquaintance that kept those animals in his freezer since then was hoping to be able to get a pathology report or whatever you call it to get them tested for 1080 residues," he said.

"So he had kept them in his freezer but he has not had the vast sums of money available to him to be able to get an independent test."

In a written statement today, after being advised by RNZ of Mr Gurden's defamation threat, Mr Mallard said he was not going to be bullied but would make no further comment.

The Department of Conservation said they had been the target of threats and violence by some anti-1080 activists, with 16 incident reports being lodged by staff in August 2018.


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