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BTK Spraying In Middle Of Busy Shopping Centre

WASP (West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying)

WASP is extremely concerned over MAF's plans to spray BTK on trees in the middle of a busy shopping centre following their find of Painted Apple Moth caterpillars on an acacia tree adjacent to Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hutt in the Lynnmall carpark.

All host trees within a 50 metre radius will be sprayed. Although residents within this area will be notified, the area is mainly occupied by businesses, shops and eating places.

Workers in Kentucky Fried and Pizza Hutt will be exposed to BTK as will anyone eating there. Visitors to Lynnmall and anyone using the carpark will be unaware of the spraying and will be unable to take steps to protect their health. There are many vulnerable people who have already had severe reactions to the spray who will be affected.

It is virtually impossible to see any signs of damage to trees in the vicinity. WASP questions the necessity to spray. It is a well known fact that even defoliated trees generally recover. Unfortunately it is doubtful whether some of those people who have been affected by the BTK spraying will ever recover their health completely.

According to Andrew Crowe's book "The Life-Size Guide to Insects of N.Z.", there are over 280 species of looper moths in NZ most of which have been here "forever". Particularly mentioned is the "Common Forest Looper" - quote: "Very common native, Caterpillars eat leaves of rata, tawa, totara, macrocarpa and pine - can be a pest". Sound familiar? If these have been here for so long and are all through our native bush and attack pine trees, why have these not been eradicated? And why suddenly the big panic over the Painted Apple Moth?

WASP is also very concerned that even though the Trap Catch Data map for the week ending 31 May showed only ONE moth caught in the whole of Auckland, MAF still went ahead with the unannounced spraying of the cemetery on Sunday June 2. Also the heavy rain which occurred on the Saturday would have resulted in the waste of thousands of dollars of taxpayers' money as "The helicopter needs seven hours of calm, dry conditions to drop the pesticide over the entire spray zone accurately, and the spray requires a further five hours without rain to be effective." NZ Herald 22.01.02.

MAF's doctors were deluged with complaints about the unannounced spraying on June 2 and all those on the Health Register were sent a letter of apology by Dr Francesca Kelly of Aer'aqua. Unfortunately this will not pay the medical bills of the many people caught in the spraying and made ill by it.

With at least 21 people being regularly evacuated by MAF so far, and many more paying large sums for their own evacuation and health costs, there can be no justification for the continuation of the aerial spraying. The PAM has not yet cost the economy a cent, but the cost to the taxpayer is $13 million so far, plus health and evacuation costs.

WASP is keen to talk to anyone who has had an adverse effect from the spray. We are collecting people's stories to ensure that their experiences are not swept under the carpet by MAF as happened in east Auckland. We also intend to take legal action to get the spraying stopped.

Helen Wiseman-Dare
WASP (West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying)
Ph: 09 827 2516

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