Painted Apple Moth Community Advisory Group
24 April 2002
Last night Hana Blackmore, on behalf of the Society Targeting the Overuse of Pesticides, and Kubi Witten-Hannah, Chair of the PAMCAG presented a deputation to the Auckland City Council in regard to the campaign to eradicate the painted apple moth. Members of the Council responded positively to the option 5 presented by the PAMCAG although because it was not an agenda item Council could not pass a resolution on the subject.
Option 5 is a safe and effective plan for the eradication of the moth developed in response to MAF's four options, which propose an aerial spray campaign over up to 50000 hectares of the greater Auckland region. "If MAF cannot carry out a safe and effective operation over 500 hectares what chance have we that they will succeed over 50000?" asked Mr. Witten-Hannah.
Option 5 involves an intensified ground based operation that would attack the infestation from the outside in, rather than focusing on the centre of the infestation while the moth continues to spread. Waitakere City Council has endorsed Option 5 and all other affected councils should be fully consulted and have the opportunity to follow the Waitakere example.
"I was shocked to hear that only two Auckland City councilors had heard MAF's full briefing and that they were pushed to make an immediate choice of option without full consultation," Mr. Witten-Hannah said. "When MAF presented the options to the community advisory group we were assured that they would meet with us again to discuss the results of the current 500 hectare operation before presenting their paper to cabinet. Now it seems they are proceeding with haste and without discussion with us. They appear to have made up their minds and we do not know what their decision is."
MAF has given no explanation for the sudden haste or the back down from their promise to have further consultation with the Community Advisory Group. The CAG has organised a public meeting for April 29th to discuss the options. The meeting will go ahead despite MAF's refusal to attend because, a MAF spokesperson said, it is too late for public opinion to influence their decision.