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WCC not using Health Act to stop aerial spraying

Waitakere City not using Health Act to stop aerial spraying

Waitakere City Council believes it has insufficient evidence to take legal action at this time, against the Painted Apple Moth aerial spray operation.

“Although quite a number of people suffer different symptoms from the spray, the evidence we have doesn’t suggest that these symptoms are sufficiently ‘injurious to health’ as intended by the Health Act,” says Councillor Penny Hulse, chair of the Council’s Environmental Management Committee.

Councillor Hulse said that this was not the end of the road and the Council will continue to monitor the situation.

The Council has been gathering evidence from residents who believe they have suffered health effects from the spray, to determine if there is a public nuisance that is injurious to health.

If there was a nuisance, the Council would require the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to “abate” the nuisance.

Councillor Hulse said that the Council had always had deep concerns about the people whose symptoms were not being treated by the MAF medical service.

“We have been asking MAF relentlessly, to expand and improve its health services. We are particularly concerned about people who have symptoms that aren’t being investigated by MAF and who are still having trouble accessing the appropriate services.

“As a result, there is a new scientific committee being set up to review MAF’s medical services. We look forward to its recommendations. Meanwhile, we will continue to gather evidence ourselves,” she says.

Councillor Hulse said the Council also continued to press MAF to disclose the ingredients in the spray.

“If the ingredients were known to more independent authorities – like the Council and people’s own health professionals – the public might have faith in the outcome. At the moment, many are anxious simply because they don’t know what’s in the spray and don’t believe MAF’s assurances are independent,” she says.

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