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Waitakere City Explores Legal Options Over Spray

Waitakere City Council exploring its legal options in respect of aerial spraying

Waitakere City Council is exploring its legal options in respect of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s aerial spraying to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth, says Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the Council’s Environmental Management Committee.

Sir Geoffrey Palmer – a leading constitutional lawyer– has said that the Council might have the right – or even an obligation – to legally contest the spraying, under the Health Act.

“Our own legal advisers have been looking at exactly the same issues and agree with Sir Geoffrey, but having a course of action open to you is not the same thing as having a case that will be successful,” says Councillor Hulse.

“So, we’re in the process of gathering evidence and if we find a sufficient body of evidence that we believe will stand up in court, we will undoubtedly exercise our regulatory duty to require MAF to abate the nuisance.”

Councillor Hulse said that the Council was simultaneously, continuing the initiatives it started last year to get MAF to provide a better health service and develop alternative ways to eradicate the moth .

Ends

Background and not for publication as a statement.

We have certain latent regulatory powers under different Acts of Parliament. For example, we have the power to prevent noise nuisances. To do this we investigate the complaint and if the evidence supports the allegation, we can then require the alleged offender to abate that nuisance. For example, by turning down the stereo, or moving a party indoors etc etc.

If the alleged offender complies, no court action is required, if not we may have to take further actions to enforce compliance.

But of course it may become necessary to go to court and so therefore, the evidence should be sufficiently robust from the start as to persuade the court that our actions were justified and should be upheld by the court.

This falls into a similar category. Sir Geoffrey has basically told us that we do have potential powers under the Health Act to take regulatory action to require abatement, if we have the evidence that a nuisance exists. Getting evidence that will stand up in court is therefore the crux of our next steps.

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