'Fake news and false facts' driving opposition to 1080 - Forest & Bird

Nationwide protests will be held against the use of 1080 on Saturday.

People will march silently this afternoon to show resistance to the Department of Conservation's upcoming aerial drop.

But Forest &  Bird's Kevin Hackwell says 1080 plays a crucial role in pest eradication, and opponents are ignoring the science.

"We understand why people may be concerned. The idea of using poisons - nobody wants to, you have to do, because we have to be killing those pests. If we don't, our wildlife dies."

Forest &  Bird used to oppose the poison, but has since changed its stance. The environmental organisation says "fake news" spread on social media is stopping current opponents from realising the benefits of 1080.

It's particularly concerned about images of dead kiwi that are circulating.

Mr Hackwell says they're actually images from years ago, of birds killed by dogs.

"Those photographs of those kiwis killed by dogs, but here they are saying it was 1080. That's rubbish, but if you don't know that you'd be concerned - I would be," he told Newshub.

"Fake news, false facts, unfortunately has helped to drive more people and bring them into the protests. I think it's sad a lot of people have been misled."

New Zealand is the biggest user of 1080 in the world because our pests are mammals, while our native species - a couple of bats aside - largely aren't.

The Department of Conservation says trapping is labour-intensive, expensive and doesn't kill enough pests.

1080 is also backed by Federated Farmers (FF), WWF and Ospri, which aims to keep New Zealand's livestock healthy.

"1080 is a tool," FF environment and pest management spokesperson Chris Allen told RadioLIVE recently.

"It's not the only tool, but it's one of the most cost effective tools we've got for looking after our food supply chain where we can end up with TB. You've got do to it on a large scale. If there was a better tool in the tool box I'm sure we'd be trying to use it."

A recent poll on a pro-1080 website found many believe 1080 is more than just a pest control tool, with many saying it's part of a plot to exterminate the human race.