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Spray 6 against moth pest finally over

Spray 6 against moth pest finally over

MAF has “completed” the sixth round of spraying against the painted apple moth in controversial circumstances. After long delays because of poor weather MAF decided to go ahead anyway despite windy and showery conditions. MAF’s public relations company has been claiming great success for the operation by comparing current figures with peak season figures from last summer. Comparison with May 2001 figures is much less flattering and it is doubtful that this time the spray was in place for long enough for it to have much effect on the target caterpillars at all.

This spray round did cause anguish to some local residents, however. Over the continuing aerial spray campaign people have got used to calling the MAF hotline to find out if spraying was going ahead. People who rang on Sunday morning were told the spraying was off for the day. When MAF staff changed their minds no effort was made to call back the people who had been reassured that spraying would not take place. People in residential areas surrounding Waikumete Cemetery who normally leave the area during spraying were caught unawares.

One lady who contacted me was greatly distressed because she had had a window open into a room in which all her baby’s clothes and towels were stored. She herself is an asthmatic and did not know whether she was better off making a belated exit from her home, and passing through the spray, or staying put. Unfortunately a lack of research into spray penetration and persistence made it difficult to advise her.

MAF is currently contemplating seeking Cabinet approval for an expansion of the spray zone by some five to fifty times. In the light of the way the operation has been conducted this weekend I sincerely hope that this permission is not forthcoming. The Painted Apple Moth Community Advisory Group is promoting a safer approach that is likely to be more effective in the long term and cause much less disruption to the public. We hope that Cabinet will choose to support this safer way.

Kubi Witten-Hannah Chairman PAMCAG Ph 8128-851 0252480282

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