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No Spraying Today Against Moth Pest

May 22 2002

Rain has postponed targeted aerial spraying against the painted apple moth in west Auckland for the second day.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry had planned to use a small light aircraft as well as a helicopter for its sixth operation which was scheduled to start today at first light. A decision will be made at 4.30am tomorrow whether to go ahead.

The small plane will concentrate on the residential blocks and the Waikumete Cemetery, while the helicopter covers low-lying land alongside the north-western motorway, the Avondale Peninsula and narrow seaward strips around Kelston and Waterview .

The flight plan has been organised to try and avoid spraying residential areas when children are most likely to be walking to school.

The plane and helicopter will work together but in different areas. Properties will be sprayed only once except for two deep gullies in the residential areas which have always been sprayed twice. The helicopter will spray the gullies when the plane has left the area.

The Civil Aviation Authority has approved the combined operation. The plane will fly at the same height as the helicopter and the same wind restrictions to limit spray drift will apply. The targeted aerial spray zone covers some 600 hectares and affects 3,000 residential and business properties.

MAF's programme against the painted apple moth is having an impact. Over the last three months, totals from the male moth trap catches have been dropping steadily and are well down from a peak of almost 900 moths before aerial spraying to just over 29 moths caught last week.


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