Anti-1080 protesters made their way through Horowhenua recently, as part of a hikoi from Cape Reinga to Wellington where a protest rally was held outside Parliament on Saturday.

Marches were also staged in multiple locations around the country with thousands of people taking part.

However, the Department of Conservation, supported by other environmental groups including Forest & Bird and the World Wildlife Fund NZ have defended the use of the pest-eradicating poison, also known as sodium fluroacetate.

Emille Leaf has walked the length of the North Island in protest at the use of 1080, accompanied by a van bedecked in anti-1080 slogans and members of his whanau who suport his stance.

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Mr Leaf said he had a background working for Lands and Survey, and became aware of 1080 when it was used around the West Coast of the South Island, where he is from.
He said he was calling for a complete ban on the use of 1080, but expected only "half measures".

"That is not acceptable," he said.

He said the public support he had received on the hikoi had been overwhelmingly positive.

Accompanying Mr Leaf was Daniel Lane, also from the West Coast, who said he believed 1080 had been put around a water supply to his property.

The West Coast has been a focus for debate on 1080 use, with extensive areas of land there subject to aerial drops in previous years.

However, as a social media campaign opposing the use of the controversial poison gains traction, DoC has come out in defence of 1080 use, with support from Ospri, Federated Farmers, Forest & Bird and WWF-NZ.

In a joint statement, the groups said they believed 1080 was "an effective, safe and valuable tool in the fight to protect New Zealand's forests and native birds, bats, insects and lizards".

They described 1080 as a highly effective toxin and a necessary tool to help protect our native species.

Opposition to 1080 is largely based on claims it kills native animals and birds as well as the pests it targets, poisons domestic animals who ingest it and gets into waterways.
Those in favour of its use claim predator pest numbers are so high and the damage they've caused so severe, that without extreme measures some native forests would soon be beyond repair.

Today's methods and strength of 1080 are said to be safer and more effective than the 1080 used years ago, according to supporters of its use.