The debate over the use of the controversial poison 1080 has flared up again following the Department of Conservation's launch of a new multi-million dollar pest control programme.
Conservation Minister Nick Smith yesterday announced the $21 million pest eradication programme that is aimed at protecting the country's birdlife from an influx of rats and other pests.
The 'Battle of the Birds' scheme will cover an extra 500,000 hectares of land, which will gradually increase by 50,000 hectares each year for the next five years.
Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says the scheme is a vital step towards ensuring the survival of our native species.
"We face potential extinctions of species, particulary local ones, if we don't do it," said Mr Hackwell.
"This is going to be a really important emergency response to what is a major threat."