A Taranaki man accused of blackmailing the Department of Conservation (DoC) over its use of 1080 poison has appeared in court today.

Gregory Ross Buchanan is alleged to have written four letters to DoC between September 25 and November 6 threatening to release Sika deer into conservation land, including Egmont National Park, and to poison processing plants.

The New Plymouth 65-year-old was arrested earlier this month following what police described as an extensive investigation, and has been charged with four counts of blackmail.

In New Plymouth District Court today, Buchanan's lawyer Patrick Mooney told Judge Chris Sygrove that he didn't wish to yet enter a plea, but asked that Buchanan be deemed to have pleaded not guilty.


Sygrove accepted and remanded Buchanan on bail to reappear for a case review on January 24.

His appearance was marked with a small gathering of anti-1080 protesters outside court, carrying flags and handing out flyers.