When then Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, told a friend almost 10 years ago that she was investigating 1080, she was warned it would be difficult because of the compelling arguments on both sides.
That caution was a testament to the energy and effectiveness of those opposed to the pesticide's use. In fact, as Dr Wright related, it proved surprisingly easy for her to not only conclude the use of 1080 should continue, but that more of it should be dropped.
• Native birds used in a 1080 protest were all killed by unnatural means - but not poison
• Forest & Bird: Anti-1080 protesters 'beyond reason'
• DOC stands up for 1080 use ahead of protests
• Northland flooded with 1080 protests
Dr Wright's research was prompted by a bill by Māori Party MP Rahui Katene which proposed a moratorium on the use of 1080. That such a piece of legislation should even be tabled pointed, again, to the persuasive and pervasive powers of pesticide's opponents. The bill was soon consigned to history, as was Katene's tenure as MP, which ended in 2011.
However, it is a testament to the protesters' diligence that we still find ourselves, a decade later, locked in a nasty and expensive conflict over a debate which ended so long ago.
This week it was revealed the Department of Conservation is spending millions of dollars on security to shield staff from those opposed to the synthetic form of sodium fluoroacetate being used to control pests.
This year, the Government responded to the rising threat by pouring an extra $10.7 million into security - $4.1m of it going toward a dedicated team, and $1.6m toward beefing up physical security at DoC sites.
The department has increased 1080 activity this year, mounting a sweeping operation against the biggest plague-fuelling forest-seeding event in decades. This could be the reason behind the heightened protests and attempts at intimidation of staff. A cause, perhaps, but not an excuse.
Some of the abusive messages posted online clearly step into the realm of threats, which have quite rightly been passed to the police for investigation. If these comments have breached the law, then authorities should apply all the punitive powers available.
Editorial: Sleigh bells ring, are you listening - or too busy?
Editorial: A time when Our Heroes are needed - and made
Successful 1080 operations notwithstanding, the overall situation remains dire because of the threat posed by possums, rats and stoats. The use of 1080 is now more tightly controlled and monitored, and the killing of non-target specimens is being cut to a minimum.
It remains far too easy for opponents to spread alarm but the fact is, in comparison even to an imaginary ideal method of killing pests, 1080 scores very well.
The use is, of course, not risk-free. But the risks must be kept in perspective. No other means of controlling pests is so effective or, thanks to aerial operations, able to be used so extensively.
Opponents of 1080 use have a right to question it, they even have a right to protest. They do not have the right to scatter Z-nails around operations or post malicious untruths and issue death threats.
This pesticide is reawakening the dawn chorus in our forests. It's time for the protesters too, to wake up before some radicalised suspect adds tragedy to a lost cause.