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Moth pest fight continues

Media Release

Moth pest fight continues

5 March 2002

The continuing fight against the painted apple moth pest in west Auckland is on again with a third operation of targeted aerial spraying scheduled to start this weekend, March 9 and 10 - weather permitting.

The plan is to start at first light with the residential areas, where most of the schools are, a priority.

About 3000 properties residential and industrial are directly within the

560 hectare spray zone, which is unchanged from the last operation.

The zone comprises an area around the Whau River and its tributaries including the suburbs of Te Atatu South, Glendene and Kelston; the Waikumete Cemetery; Sunrise Grove and the Avondale Peninsula. Traherne Island and some small pockets of land adjacent to the north-western motorway are also in the spray zone.

After this third aerial spraying operation, there will be a report to the Government to assess the effectiveness of the programme to date. A paper is not expected to be with the Cabinet before mid May 2002 because it will take about six weeks to gather the required information which includes over 7000 property-by-property surveys, collecting and interpreting data from approximately 600 moth trap catches, analysing results and discussing future options and implications with interest groups.

The planned targeted aerial spraying programme of six to eight sprays in total will continue while the information gathering and assessments are underway.

Tomorrow night, (Wednesday 6 March) residents of the Auckland suburbs of Pt Chevalier and Waterview have been invited to a public meeting to discuss possible future plans to target aerial spray the riparian margins there. Higher than normal male moth trap catches a few weeks ago alerted MAF that action may need to be taken, although recent trapping numbers have dropped. There will be no action in Pt Chevalier and Waterview before June.

For more information please contact:

Mary-Ann Crawford

MAF Communications

Project Painted Apple Moth

MOB: 021 648 117

Communications contact on spray day

Sherryl Arneil

0274 5863 534

Kelli-Jo Walker

021 674 080

(Saturday/Sunday/Monday)

Mary-Ann Crawford

021 648 117

(Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday)

WHAT HAPPENS ON SPRAY DAY

- At first light on Saturday 9 March 2002 the third operation of targeted aerial spraying against the painted apple moth will start - weather permitting

- At 4.00 am a decision will be made whether to proceed or not

- If rain is likely or the winds are too strong, spraying will be delayed until the next suitable morning

- If spraying is to go ahead radio stations, MAF’s call centre (0800 96 96 96), police and traffic controllers will be alerted

- The radio stations running half hourly updates from 6.00 am are: Newstalk ZB, Classic Hits, More FM, 531PI and MaiFM.

The exact time of spraying over each suburb will not be known but residents can find out by ringing MAF’s free phone line on 0800 96 96 96, listening to regular radio updates or accessing MAF’s Website www.maf.govt.nz/painted-apple-moth. Updates will be posted on Teletext for deaf and hearing-impaired people.

Painted Apple Moth Facts and Figures

- The targeted aerial spray zone covers 560 hectares

- About 3000 properties (residential and industrial) are within the zone

- The area to be sprayed is around the Whau River and its tributaries, Waikumete Cemetery, Sunrise Grove, Avondale Peninsula, Traherne Island and some small pockets of land adjacent to the north-western motorway

- One complete spray is expected to take eight hours but this may take two to three suitable mornings to complete - because of Auckland’s unpredictable weather

- Spraying will always start at first light or the first available time weather permits

- Six to eight sprays are planned at three-weekly intervals

- The aerial spraying targets areas which cannot be reached by ground spraying - gullies, tall trees, difficult terrain

- The targeted aerial spraying programme is in addition to ground control measures (ground spraying and removal of host material)

- The helicopter will fly at about 45 metres above ground level except in some river flat areas

- It will release the spray over 30 metre swathes

- About eight loads will be needed to complete the entire spraying operation

- Each load will take about one hour

- The helicopter to be used is a BK-117 (used in rescue operations)

- Spray drift is estimated at about 200 metres downwind (worse-case scenario) of where it is released when the winds are 12 kph

- Helicopter operations will be postponed if winds rise above 12 kph

- The spray to be used is Btk-based Foray 48B

- Btk is found naturally in soil, air and water,

- Most people will not be affected by the spray, unless they have specific allergies

- MAF has established a medical register for those with specific allergies or health concerns

- Health advisors are also available at venues in West Auckland.


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