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Record wait to spray moth pest in west Auckland

2 June 2002
Media Release

Record wait to spray moth pest in west Auckland

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s sixth operation of targeted aerial spraying against the painted apple moth in west Auckland is finally over with the last area completed at mid morning today.

The operation - scheduled to start on Tuesday 21 May - has been delayed day after day by the sudden onset of winter bringing gale force winds and heavy rain. It’s the longest postponement in the programme so far.

Ironically, it’s also the first time two aircraft were used to reduce flying time. This was achieved without hitch once the helicopter and plane got underway yesterday completing all but the Waikumete Cemetery in record time – even with an hour break mid morning for wind gusts to settle. This morning the cemetery was finished within an hour.

The aircraft worked together but in different areas. The plane concentrated on the residential blocks and the cemetery, while the helicopter covered low-lying land alongside the north-western motorway, narrow seaward strips around Kelston and Waterview and the Avondale Peninsula.

The plane flew at the same height as the helicopter and the same wind restrictions to limit spray drift applied 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 20 moths caught last week.


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