Almost $20 million will be spent finding alternatives to the use of the controversial poison 1080, in the battle against rats, stoats and possums.
The $19.5 million funding from the Provincial Growth Fund was announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage at Wellington's Zealandia wildlife sanctuary today.
Mr Jones said this would also mean focusing on maintaining predator free environments using "innovative" techniques once eradication has been achieved, reducing the need to use 1080 in these areas.
He said the funding would be used by Predator Free 2050 Limited, a Crown-owned company, to contract projects to cover tens of thousands of hectares of rural and forested land under predator control.
The company will seek expressions of interest from predator eradication projects in Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Cape, Hawke's Bay, Manawatū-Whanganui and the West Coast.
While it was not the government's intention to phase out 1080 use, Ms Sage said this initiative would expand the range of tools available to eradicate pests.
"This investment will help develop new technology, new traps, new lures, new toxins and go to the places where we're seeing bird populations and our forests declining because of the scourge of possums, rats and stoats.
"So it's a real investment in the protection of things that Kiwis care about: our native birds and forests."
Ms Sage said the money would also be spent on pest surveillance and data management technology.
"Natural assets are at the heart of our regions and their local economies. This investment will further protect this important resource and support regional growth," she said.