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Why we’re giving the Westies such a hard time?


People are asking why we’re giving the Westies such a hard time?

The native Australian wattle has yellow flowers that provide a perfect refuge for its mate the Painted Apple Moth.

In Australia they call it the “wattle moth”. In NZ 80% of finds have been on wattles. The best way to prevent the moth eating pines or natives is to provide plenty of its favourite food.

In Australia they don’t consider it a threat even though it is found in forested areas. Many Australians think we’re mad making such a fuss about this little moth. In some parts the caterpillars crawl across people’s backyards every year. They describe it as cute and watch out for it. They know not to touch it. Mowing through a patch of caterpillars has occasionally been known to cause a skin rash which quickly goes away after the application of antihistamine cream. Compare this to the effects of aerial spraying.

Since it was first found here not a single tree has been destroyed by this “Aussie menace”.

But MAF have destroyed more than 20,000 wattles. They have refused to pay for revegetation. The Council ie: ratepayers, have been left to foot the bill, especially for sensitive riparian margins where bank stabilisation and weed growth will now be a major problem.

Those 20,000 trees provided a range of benefits including homes for birds and a way of soaking up pollution.

If anyone asks why MAF are cutting down trees to wipe out the Painted Apple Moth, just say it’s yet another way of putting the boot into Westies and the environment.

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


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