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Why we didn’t release sterile PAMs in 1999

People are asking why we didn’t release sterile Painted Apple Moths back in 1999?

This is just one of a range of non toxic alternatives to aerial spraying which the boys and girls at MAF could have had available to them.

“. . . Having for years neglected the funding of basic research in this country, a modern problem for governments, that of biosecurity, is met first by stubborn refusal to admit there is a problem, and when it gets out of hand, to tackle it with a bludgeon, rather than a scalpel.

In the long term, it will be more effective to find specific bio-control agents, or to build pest resistance into the host species.

Perhaps the most tragic feature of this sorry mess is that from it we shall learn nothing. There will be new infestations, almost certainly a new invasion of moths and other insect pests. There will be no new ideas for tackling the problem, no new knowledge of how to contain it.

If each one costs a similar amount, then soon our economy will be entirely consumed with the purchase of insecticides and spray equipment. It is worth reflecting on what we shall miss because of government inaction.

Translate it into teaching salaries, operations, or even an air defence force, and the scale of this kind of blunder becomes more easily understood, but much less easily tolerated. At the very least, we could expect the resignation of the Minister for Biosecurity, and an acceptance of some degree of responsibility. However that, I suppose, is about as likely as the aerial spraying being successful.” John Leader, Associate Professor in Physiology, University of Otago, 3.10.02 Otago Daily Times.

For information on the ingredients of the spray visit http://www.moth.co.nz

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