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Stop Aerial Spraying

Stop Aerial Spraying

Stop Aerial Spraying (SAS) have been lobbying Waitakere City Council after receiving documents through the Official Information Act which suggest that the Council could stop aerial spraying at anytime.

A Waitakere City Council by-law prohibits low-flying aircraft over the city. Groups opposing the aerial spray campaign have joined together in making a request that Council officers enforce the by-law. They believe that notice should be issued against MAF and Agriquality (the contractor carrying out the spray operation). This would prevent the next aerial spray due on 18th December 2002. “We understand that a central government law may override a by-law but we believe that, to date, the Minister of Biosecurity has not claimed exemption from this by-law”.

Other exemptions, however, were sought and were successful, relating to various provisions under the District Plan. This may have led to some confusion in Council. Research of documentation by SAS revealed that an exemption has not applied, as yet, to the by-law prohibiting low flying aircraft.

Given these circumstances SAS request that the Waitakere City Council issues the appropriate notices to enforce its own by-law, as they believe it is legally obliged to do. SAS are hoping for a decision from the Council on this issue at the next Council meeting on the 18th December.

As well as pressuring the Council to do its fullest to protect the residents of West Auckland (Under the Health Act 1956), Stop Aerial Spraying are obtaining legal advice and will be taking whatever steps are possible to have the spray program independently reviewed. Spokesperson Sue Berman says “If the politicians will not consult with the affected community and take our concerns into account, then the community has no option but to consider a legal challenge to the decision to implement the spray program".

Legal progress has been frustrated by the denial of access to official information, as well as a lack of consideration being given to OIA requests under urgency. The Office of the Ombudsman has taken up a SAS complaint and has requested documents from the Prime Minister’s office be made available for review”.

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