An anti-1080 group working with the Department of Conservation (DoC) and Ngāti Whakaue has welcomed the Government announcement of $20 million for the expansion of predator control methods.
OCB's Outcasts is a Rotorua group actively seeking and sharing alternatives to the use of 1080. They are currently self-funded and believe if funding was available, they could be a lot more effective.
Yesterday Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced the Government would spend $20 million through the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) to develop and expand predator control methods which will reduce the use of 1080 across the country.
OCB's Outcasts member Dredge Judge said the group was working alongside organisations to prove trapping and other alternatives could be used instead of 1080.
"We've been told to come up with alternatives and to prove their worth," Judge said.
"I've been trapping for years, most of our members have, so we speak from experience."
He said OCB's Outcasts had been working with Ngāti Whakaue for the past six months and, in May, would be working with iwi members to set traps in a 1000ha block.
"We're teaching them to trap and other eradication methods with the aim their forests can be 1080-free."
Judge said if the group was able to access some of the PGF funding, they could put more money into traps and spend more time teaching people how to use them.
The $20m has been provided to Predator Free 2050, a Crown-owned company, to contract various projects to improve predator-eradication tools and technologies.
Sage said new types of traps, surveillance and data-management technologies, lures and remote-sensing tools could all be among the new innovations produced because of the funding.
She and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones made the funding announcement at Wellington native wildlife sanctuary Zealandia.
"The new approach will focus on maintaining predator-free environments using innovative techniques once initial eradication in the project areas has been achieved," Jones said.
"This will reduce the need to use 1080 to maintain predator-free status in these areas."
According to DoC, 1080 is the only method of pest control that can be deployed rapidly to manage a pest boom over vast or rugged terrain.
The poison is cost-effective and presents very little risk to the environment, DoC's website said.
Despite this, opposition groups say 1080 is cruel – animal rights group SAFE said it caused a slow and painful death to the pests it targeted.
From here, Predator Free 2050 will seek expressions of interest from predator-eradication projects from local authorities and community-backed entities in the PGF "surge regions" – regions that face high unemployment, low wages and low productivity when compared with the rest of the country.
These regions are Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Cape, Hawke's Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui and the West Coast.