By Dave Hansford
Potton & Burton
Reviewed by Lynnaire Johnston
Something most peculiar happened when I began reading Protecting Paradise and talking about it with others – the knives came out. On both sides of the debate. As a 1080 novice, I was gob-smacked by the intensity of feeling that this subject engenders. Even in people who are otherwise open-minded. I also started to notice debates about the issue appearing in all kinds of publications. No question, it’s a hot topic.
In the interests of self-disclosure, if you’d asked me which camp I was in before reading this, I’d have confidently said, ‘Against’. But Protecting Paradise gave me an awful lot to think about and by the time I’d finished I’d decided … well, you’ll need to read it too to find out. The author is no hot-head out to make a buck from Kiwis’ divided opinions. He’s a long-time, highly respected science and environment journalist who’s reported for the likes of New Zealand Geographic and Radio NZ. But he’s also worked for DoC so he is well versed in both sides of the argument. His approach to the book is rather like a well-researched magazine article – a clear look at the facts and figures from both sides of the argument. He quotes research and studies but in a readable and entertaining way that is as unlike academic tomes as it’s possible to be. But don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bright and breezy read. You need to concentrate as you sift through the evidence to decide for yourself whether 1080 is the villain or the hero.