TODAY |

Alternatives to 1080 explored, but poison 'remains a critical tool'

Millions of dollars have been provided to look into alternatives to 1080 being used for pest control, but the poison remains a "critical tool" in New Zealand conservation. 

In Parliament's question time today, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage was asked by NZ First MP Mark Patterson what alternatives were DOC were using or researching. 

In 2017-18, $4.8 million was provided for 1080 alternative research, and that investment increased to over $7 million in 2018-19.

"The best alternative at the moment is trapping, which is already used extensively across New Zealand," Ms Sage said.

She said the most effective projects that were being researched involved "scents to confuse predators, things like sodium nitrate; the PAPP, which is a more effective lure for species like stoats; and... exclusion devices".

"The Government is supporting a range of research into different compounds, including things like PAPP, which is very effective for stoats; things like sodium nitrate; microencapsulated zinc phosphate paste; and also into traps like self-resetting traps. 

When asked if she supported or saw a future for alternatives to 1080, Ms Sage said "absolutely". 

"Aerial 1080 continues to be a critical tool if we are to prevent the regional extinction of kākā, kiwi, and species like that, but alternative research is well under way."

National's Sarah Dowie asked about why Ms Sage instructed Predator Free New Zealand to stop looking at genetic engineering.

"There is a lot of research under way into traditional tools like trapping, better use of 1080, and alternative vertebrate toxins and because we have not had the public consultation and the development of a public mandate for genetic engineering," Ms Sage said.