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MAF 'Slap In The Face' On Health Care Funding

For Immediate Release - February 12th 2003

MAF 'slap in the face' on health funding as damning report of aerial spray is about to be released

Community representatives at a council meeting in Waitakere City yesterday, were stunned as the Ministry of Agriculture & Forestry (MAF) finally pulled the plug on any hopes of a free healthcare plan for residents affected by the Painted Apple Moth aerial spraying programme.

MAF Project Director, Ian Gear told Council there would be no government funding in the Painted Apple Moth programme for providing free treatment, prescriptions or visits to General Practitioners.

Hana Blackmore, member of the Community Advisory Group, said that it was the final slap in the face for everyone from councillors to community representatives who had worked so hard to put together a credible plan to meet the needs of the people being affected by the aerial spray programme.

"Even worse" said Hana, "it comes in the week when we finally release the report of the community-based monitoring of the aerial spraying, which details damning evidence of the adverse health effects being experienced by hundreds of people in Waitakere and Auckland Cities".

Hana Blackmore who is author of the report, said the impact of the pesticide spraying programme was now overwhelming and undeniable. "Many in the community are facing huge health and financial difficulties in what has been for them a year of dislocation and disruption," she said.

Hana says all these facts were clearly outlined to the Minister, Jim Sutton when she presented Waitakere's healthcare plan in Wellington last November as part of the City's delegation.

"I cannot believe that after all the evidence that we detailed for the Minister and MAF officials, they continue to deny that any problem with the aerial spray programme exists. I suggest they all attend the public launch of the report and hear the true account of what has been happening in the community."

The Interim Report is to be publicly released at a community meeting in the New Lynn Community Centre at 2.00pm on Saturday 15th February.

Contact: Hana Blackmore 09 528 8811 - 025 688 7049 Bmore@iconz.co.nz

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