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Helen Wiseman-Dare Speech: Anti Spray March Nov 30

Full Text Of Speech For Anti Spray March And Rally 30 November 2002

Helen Wiseman-Dare (West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying – Wasp)

Great to be part of such a large crowd here today. Good to see so many people prepared to get off the couch and onto the streets to protest against this gross violation of our human rights. This aerial child abuse.

This campaign has turned thousands of ordinary west Aucklanders into activists. It’s brought people out on the streets who have never protested about anything before in their lives. People like Bill and Elena, who even though of advancing years, and sick from the spray, have walked miles along west Auckland streets delivering flyers and gathering hundreds of signatures for our Petition. They haven’t missed a protest all year. In fact I’d like to thank all the wonderful WASP supporters and in fact, everyone who’s worked so hard over the last year.

Our government is waging war against thousands of New Zealanders – bombing us with biopesticides. We’ve had 11 sprays since January with three more years to go and MAF has plans to start spraying every 2 weeks. We’ve heard that spraying is also being considered for strategic locations around NZ – we believe this means that spraying could be coming to towns near forestry areas soon.

An eradication campaign of this magnitude has never been carried out before. We are nothing but human guinea pigs.

Question: When is a moth a pest?

Answer: When MAF discovers it in New Zealand.

The NZ Herald reported that after the east Auckland Tussock Moth spraying experts believed that the threat of the tussock moth had been overstated. Well we’re certainly seeing that here

I’m one of the few people who’ve ever seen a Painted Apple Moth caterpillar. I took part in a tour of the so called “infested” sites. The only sign of the caterpillar was on this karaka tree (Photos available) – in an area where all the wattles had been removed by MAF. It was covered in caterpillars. They’d just been sprayed and were dripping off the tree and covering the ground.

Does this look like a destroyed and devastated tree, totally stripped of all its leaves as MAF’s propaganda ads would have us believe ? Does this look like the scorched earth promised us by MAF if it is not wiped out?

The woman who first discovered the moth on her property and called in the local entymologist who took it to MAF, said she is aghast by what has happened. She said the affected trees on her property all regenerated. We’ve seen the same with the infested Wattles on Traherne Island at the beginning of the year before spraying started.

Prof. Judith Myers, Entomologist and Assoc Dean of Science, University of British Columbia said:

“If an insect finds conditions under which it can thrive and multiply, no amount of spraying will prevent it from doing so. The spraying will only damage the eco system and hurt people.”

There are caterpillars that do real damage to forests. Whose favourite food is baby pine tree. But according to Forest Research, even these have the ability to recover after quite severe defoliation. These caterpillars are also susceptible to virus and parasitic fungus attacks. Just like the virus that decimated the Painted Apple Moth breeding colony in the laboratory. There is also a parasitic fungus and many of the female moths originally found in Glendene were infested by a parasitic wasp. All that MAF’s spraying has done has killed off any form of natural controls and encouraged the moth to spread out to other parts of Auckland.

MAF has determined that the majority of our significant natives are resistant to the moth which fails to thrive on them. According to the Ministry for the Environment: “No introduced insects have yet caused serious problems to indigenous forests.”

$90 million is being spent on an eradication campaign that Jim Sutton has admitted has no certainty of success, just because this government wants to be seen by overseas forestry investors to be dealing to the moth, egged on by a spray mad Dept of Conservation plus local conservation groups, mindlessly parroting MAF propaganda. You might want to consider resigning your membership of these pro spray groups.

The moth has been here for 4 years - 4 years in which MAF has had ample time to come up with safe, non toxic alternatives to aerial spraying.

So far all we’ve heard is excuses. Hort Research seems more interested in siphoning off huge amounts of government funding than coming up with viable pheromone based or any other alternatives.

Overseas, pheromone impregnated plastic beads or flakes are used which stick to the canopies of tall trees. Rather than fast track this through Erma they would rather seek approval for new brands of Btk for aerial spraying. Btk applications are granted based solely on MAF and US Forestry Dept propaganda instead of real science.

There is no reason MAF could not be releasing large amounts of sterile male moths or putting out an intensive network of traps as they did earlier this year in the Pakuranga area.

MAF still has no real idea of how far the moth has spread. They are so understaffed they have to bring in forestry workers from all round the country to do the ground survey work.

Your children’s health is being put at risk because of an insect which may never even go near a forest and if it does it may not cause any more damage than existing forestry pests.

Claude Ginsburg of No Spray Zone - an anti Btk spray group in Seattle, said in a message to me:

“You may not be able to stop the spraying but your aim should be to generate as much bad publicity as you can for the government, so it never happens again.”

I believe we can get the spraying stopped, but we need to keep up the pressure. We need to become MAF exterminators. We need to become a bigger pest to MAF than the Painted Apple Moth will ever be.

The time has now come for civil disobedience. We’ve tried everything else. You can start by covering your gardens with tarpaulins on spray day. This is guaranteed to get up Jim Sutton’s nose. There are yellow helium balloons for sale or donation here today. Float them high above your homes on spray day. Other direct action is planned. Put your name on the list.

People’s overseas visitors are getting sick. Tell all your overseas or out of town friends and relations to stay away from Auckland and to write to Helen Clark and tell her why.

I have an email from David Cunliffe dated 30 October 2001 saying he “would be happy to” be an observer on the ground in the spray zone during spraying. Instead of doing that he has moved to Herne Bay – pity it’s now in the new spray zone.

I would like to call on all the local MPs and Helen Clark to come out on the streets of West Auckland on spray day. If it’s good enough for the Queen mother to stand by the people of London during the blitz why isn’t it good enough for our Prime Minister to show solidarity with those who she expects to sacrifice their health and the health of their children for the sake of the forestry industry.

To paraphrase the words of the environmentalist Jackie Giuliano author of Healing our World:

I am much more afraid of the actions of this government and the overconfident MAF scientific advisors than I am of the Painted Apple Moth. “The moth, at least, is behaving rationally.

The health of the web of life must be our first consideration, not the health of the web of business.”

Protect New Zealanders - The sooner we get aerial spraying stopped the better.

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