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Four Years Too Late for Irradiated Moths

Four Years Too Late for Irradiated Moths

PRESS RELEASE - West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying (WASP)

Four Years Too Late for Irradiated Moths

Helen Wiseman-Dare, Chairperson, West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying said today that MAF's planned release of sterile Painted Apple Moths should have taken place four years ago when the moth was first discovered. Even an increased density of traps at that stage would have helped control the moths' spread. Instead, MAF did nothing more than order large quantities of Foray 48B for aerial spraying.

MAF did a trial release of sterile moths last year and found they flew considerable distances proving that the moth could easily have spread very far afield by now. MAF have still not ascertained the exact spread of the moth.

What is clear is that MAF have made virtually no effort to look at alternatives to aerial spraying. Female moths originally discovered in Glendene were infected by a parasitic wasp. The spraying has killed off these and any other natural predators. One of the original female moth breeding colonies in the laboratory was destroyed by a virus. Overseas such natural controls are used for other moth populations.

Sterile insect technique and parasitic wasps are safe, non toxic methods successfully used for many years in pest control. MAF has chosen to destroy people's health and lives by aerial spraying rather than consider alternatives.

MAF is now spraying seven "Hot spots" spread over three cities (Waitakere, Auckland and North Shore) every week by helicopter. Many of these are areas where caterpillars are still being found after over a years worth of spraying. The total area is greater than the area originally being target sprayed a year ago. Most of the "Hot spots" are next to schools. Parents of children at Pomaria Primary school reported spray drifting over children attending a Powhiri in the school playgrounds during Hot Spot spraying last week. This school regularly sees at least ten children in the sick bay every spray day.

MAF's next extended spray is scheduled for a Sunday. This means thousands will be sprayed at the Avondale Markets where much food and produce will also be exposed to the spray. The many who are evacuated by MAF will be unable to attend their churches.

MAF's release of sterile moths has come too late for the many whose health and lives have been permanently affected by the aerial spraying.

Helen Wiseman-Dare Chairperson, WASP (West Aucklanders Against Aerial Spraying) Ph: 827 2516, Email: wasp@xtra.co.nz

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