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Community ignored by Local Labour MP's yet again

Media Release - NO WAY SPRAY - Sat 8 Feb.

Community ignored by Local Labour MP's yet again.

For the second time in one month, appointments made with local Labour MP's weren't kept. Last month Labour MP for Waitakere Lynne Pillay, refused to keep her appointment with residents wanting to discuss their health concerns with their local MP.

This morning Labour MP for Te Atatu Chris Carter, did not show up to his appointment at his electoral office in Glendene. Representatives from the community were to discuss their concerns over the aerial spray programme in West Auckland. "If our local Labour MP's refuse to meet with us, they are not only ignoring their responsibilities as an MP, but leave residents feeling helpless, angry & frustrated. Labour MP's don't seem to care." says Rachel Wapenaar.

With about 1/10 of Auckland's population being subjected to this apparently safe pesticide, and more than 5% reacting to this spray, the tolerance within the community is waning. Like wise Labour's popularity in Western Suburbs. The community feels let down by the Labour Party, local MP's in particular, who've proven to be quite unsympathetic, largely ignoring the health concerns of their constituents.

Barry Partridge, a resident of Glendene who made the appointment with Chris Carter, has lost all faith in his local MP. His words were more direct, "I voted for him. They are not listening to the electorate. We will make sure Labour suffer in the next election, when we will remind them of the aerial spraying."

Similar words from Sherry Spear of Oratia. "I am prepared to stand by my word in stating that I will never allocate another future vote to any member of the Labour Party, until they are prepared to make a stand for the welfare of the people that they are put in place to represent. I believe it is time that the Govt. held an inquiry into the Head's of MAF involved in the PAM eradication program. This being due to the fact that it is evident that the reason behind so many West Auckland citizens having to experience adverse health effects resulting from the Aerial Spray Regime, is due purely to the inadequate, inappropriate and incompetent decision making at the most critical time."

There were other concerns the representatives wanted to raise with Chris Carter, Minister of Conservation. Namely the Department of Conservation and Forest & Bird's lack of concern at the effect this pesticide is having on the wild life in the area. They seem to be ignorant that many birds species are suffering within the spray zone. Residents have noticed a significant drop in birdlife.

Rachel Wapenaar of Point Chevalier say's, "Not only have the Tui & fantails left my garden, but I have spoken to many locals who've noticed a decrease in number of wildlife at Western Springs Park. DOC and Forest and Bird's ignorance about alternative methods of eradicating this pest, is both alarming and concerning. Safe eradication for both humans and wildlife must be paramount. Clearly it is not."

Sherry continues, "Both MAF and DOC claim that the PAM could have significant effect on our Native Forests, but such basic knowledge as 'What is PAM's natural predator within Australia?' has never been sought. I find this astounding. How do we know that a biological control is not already active within our own eco-system."

The representatives left documents for the MP to read. These included alternative methods of eradication, with the emphasis on the safe eradication of this pest. Also Dr Merial Watts critical analysis of the Health Risk Assessment, and a letter from the community asking the MP to listen to their concerns.

Early this week Dr Meriel Watts, a member of the Pesticides Board and the Agri chemical Trespass Ministerial Advisory Committee, released a critical analysis of the Health Risk Assessment on which MAF and Cabinet reply. Her analysis shows that the HRA is flawed, & puts at risk the health of the community. The report was sent to local MP's and Cabinet but no response has been forthcoming.

Contacts: Sherry Spear Ph: 813 3836 mobile: 021 1897 515 Rachel Wapenaar Ph: 0 21 1101 345

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