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Ratepayers to Foot the Bill for Painted Apple Moth

Fri, 6 Sep 2002

(WASP) West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying ===========================================

Ratepayers to Foot the Bill for MAF's Painted Apple Moth Host Removal Programme

Helen Wiseman-Dare of West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying said today that it was outrageous that ratepayers would be forced to foot the bill for at least $25,000 of remediation planting work in Waitakere City Council reserves due to destruction of large trees carried out by MAF as part of its Painted Apple Moth eradication campaign.

These costs are for a 4,000 square metre area only, she said, where host removal has been undertaken so far. With MAF's proposal to extend the spray zone to 15 times its current size and continue spraying for the next four years, due to be put before Cabinet on September 9th, the potential costs of remediation work caused by host removal could escalate to the hundreds of thousands of dollars, she said.

MAF has obtained an exemption under the Biosecurity Act which enables it to bypass the requirements of the Resource Management Act, and Waitakere City Council deems it unlikely that MAF will contribute costs for the revegetation needed. Revegetation is seen as important, particularly in sensitive riparian margin areas, to prevent erosion and control weed growth. The Council has said that if no reinstatement work is done future costs will double, and there will be impacts on bank stability, erosion and amenity loss.

MAF's Potential Economic Impact Report on the Painted Apple Moth (July 2000) identified the moth's impact on public amenity. It said that the moth would infest trees on public property and that it would cost Councils an average of $800 per tree. But the report also said that the probability of tree-kill due to the moth may be low. We have not yet seen a single public amenity tree killed by the moth, said Ms Wiseman-Dare, yet MAF has caused $25,000 worth of damage by tree destruction so far, and ratepayers have been left to foot the bill, she said.

Helen Wiseman-Dare
Chairperson, WASP (West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying)

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