Appalled West Auckland Resident
In regards to M.A.F's Web Site 27th-May 2003
MINISTER SUTTON ANNOUNCES WINTER CAMPAIGN Minister Sutton announced today that Targeted Winter Aerial Operations will take place over a drastically reduced area through the winter months. Weather permitting; Wednesday 11 June will be the first planned date for an aerial operation across the five Winter Target Areas. In total under 1,000 hectares will be sprayed using a light fixed wing aircraft. Given favourable conditions the operation should be carried out in a single day
What Mr Sutton has failed to state, is the Targeted Winter Aerial Spraying Areas have not been reduced but increased from the original size. Hobsonville to (80 hectares); Riverpark to (200 hectares); Ranui/Swanson to (250 hectares); Waikumete Cemetery to (250 hectares); and Motions/Meola Creek to (110 hectares) I visited a breakfast venue the last time they sprayed to see for myself what theses people have had to endure for the past eighteen months and visualised myself in one of these families situations. (As follows below) M.A.F supplies these venues for some of the spray affected people in West Auckland who have been so sick from the chemicals being used and now we are told they are still going to continue with this campaign, how despicable.
Close your eyes for five minutes or more and visualise what I am about to describe to you.
I have just been woken up by the phone ringing; the time is 4-30am, it is dark, damp and cold, I climb out of my warm comfortable bed wiping the sleep from my eyes to answer the phone. It is a phone call from Aer Aqua.
On the other end a voice tells me that they are going to spray today, I sigh , under my breath I silently curse M.A.F and say to myself "not again how much longer am I going to have to endure this, this is so unfair on my family" I go into my children's bedrooms, talk to them softly to awaken them so as not to frighten them, I dress them as they are not quite with it at that time of the day, I pick up their bags that I packed the day before with toys ,colouring books, dolls and a change of clothes, I usher them down the driveway, it is still very dark and cold, the children are stumbling as they are still half asleep. Meanwhile my husband has warmed up the car while I was dressing the children so we could at least have some warmth from the car heater. As I fasten their seat belts I say softly
"Sorry my little darlings there will be no school again for you today", I don't think they could care as there was no response, but this does concern me as this is what we have now been doing every second to third week of every month for the past sixteen month, and this started for us on the 18th February 2002. Approximately 42 days of the first year were missed, if not more due to sickness from the spray, the second year is now up to 18 days plus14 sick days.
We head off to the breakfast venue which is on the other side of town, it will only take us approximately 20 to 25 minutes to get there, the traffic is very quiet, there seems to be nobody else on the roads which makes me wonder why, there should be shouldn't there?, We have been dragged out of our beds, so why aren't there others like us on the road at this ungodly hour of the morning, or is this a remake of the movie On The Beach?.
My head starts to clear a little, Oh! Now I understand they are not affected by the Painted Apple Moth Spray so they can get to stay in their nice cosy warm beds and get up when it pleases them and arrange their day accordingly.
We arrive at our destination only to find there are another 120 or so of us, and this is only one of the breakfast venues, some arriving by taxi's and others like ourselves arrive in cars, we are all looking for the same thing, Yes, car parking, at that time of the morning one would think there should be ample parking but no, not with so many of us arriving at the same time. It becomes a hassle trying to get your family as close as possible to the front door as by this time our children have fallen back off to sleep and are quite cosy and warm from the car heater only now to be woken up once again and herded into a large room, tripping over them selves as they are still tired and disoriented. They are now hungry and not at all happy about being woken for the second time.
One by one we all line up and edge our way into the room that is usually used as a dinning room for the Motor Lodge, we are ticked off on the register as each person passes through the door, nobody has much to say as they are all cold, hungry and still half asleep, is this a P.O.W camp I say to myself?. You see we have had no say in all of this, so why are we all here? I start to wake a little more now and think, 'Oh yes that's right, we are all here because of the health affects we are all having due to the chemicals that are being sprayed on us with out our consent.'
This is now where we will spent the rest of the day amusing ourselves in what ever way possible to make our stay bearable, we say nothing as we should be grateful to be here I suppose.
As you walk in the door on the left hand side there is a long table. They are setting up breakfast, Porridge, Coffee, Tea, Milk, Sugar, Juice, Toast, Muffins, Crumpets, Jam, Peanut butter, Marmalade, bowls of Fruit and Yogurt, can't complain about that can I?, I half expected bread and water.
We settle the children and sort out our Posie for the day and try our hardest to make that area as comfortable as possible as we could be here for the next six to ten hours.
Breakfast is ready, we all line up and help ourselves; the occasional hi and how are you is uttered but not much more, we head off to find a dinning table which we will share with eight others for the rest of the day, seat ourselves and eat, the noise is increasing considerably as we are all starting to wake up a little by now, the children have finished so they leave, leaving the adults to finish eating in peace, Peace did I say? What is this child doing under the table in amongst our feet shouting for his friends to find him, at the same time his sister has just had her hair pulled and is now crying, and the other two are saying they are bored, so much for finishing ones breakfast in peace.
The breakfast table by the door is cleared and set up with chopped carrots, chopped fruit, wafer biscuits and juice, the next dinning table is set up for face painting and the TV next to that on the floor is playing children's videos, above the breakfast table a sign is erected with the words "KIDS GRAZING TABLE," I have called my children silly goats some times but I didn't think they were animals being put out to graze even if they do eat like animals on the odd occasion.
All these children have been given three Nannies, (that would explain the sign, which ever context you wish to put the word Nanny in,) to look after them and amuse them for the day, but where are these Nannies?, oh, I see them now, across the other side of the room sitting down talking to friends with their backs away from the mayhem that's going on, but that doesn't matter they are still getting paid, cant blame them I suppose as who wants to get involved with twenty to forty odd children running wild, adults tripping over them, children screaming, crying, and walking around dropping food all over the floor, Oh that reminds me I must ring my boss and tell him I won't be into work again today and I must remind my husband to do the same. Damm our pay packet's will once again be very minimal as all our sick days have been used up and I was hoping to get my tooth fixed this week as the filing has fallen out and the pain is unbearable and one of the children needs more Ventolin for his newly acquired Asthma due to this spraying campaign , never mind the Ventolin will be a must no matter what, and my tooth?, Well maybe next week considering our bosses have still left our jobs open for us, one should not complain should one.
Gosh hasn't the time flown as it is now morning tea time, I can choose either a scone or a muffin, I get up from the table I have been sitting at for the past five hours trying to make useful conversation only to trip over a child who has fallen asleep on the floor as there is no cots or beds for any child to have their morning or afternoon sleep in, make my way over to the morning tea table, choose a couple of scones and pore myself and my husband a cup of tea while he is organising the children's morning tea, were are the Nannies? I go back to where I was sitting only to have a child bump into me which makes me drop my scones on the floor, I am sure they won't taste any different as I am not prepared to stand in that long queue again for a couple of lousy scones.
I keep on having to say to myself as I hold my head from the pain of the noise; this is like a Mardi Gras so enjoy? I look around the room and see ten other tables, with approximately eight people at each, knitting, reading, talking, some asleep with mouths open catching flies snoring, it all reminds me of the movie "One Flew Over The Cookoos Nest", there are no lounge seats or comfortable chairs to sit in.
One of the Nannies has decided to start work and is now doing some face painting that's if she can find the brushes that the boys have borrowed off the unattended face painting table to use as guns; still some brushes and paint are missing though, oh! There the other brushes are and the lost paint, down the other end of the room being used in a sword fight; those boys have already had their faces by themselves, hands and hair are now painted, red, black and yellow.
Lunch is being served, lovely Spread, ham, cold corned beef, egg salad, and green salad, everything you could think of for a salad. Can my head hold me up to queue once again? Also can I hold my tongue? As my husbands getting tired and very irritable at the children because by now they have watched every video, read every book, had their faces painted and are so tiered, it's been a very long day.
All of the above has only just been put into place as it used to be cold porridge, sandwiches for lunch if you were still there at lunch time and no entertainment for the children.
While eating lunch an announcement is made, "they have not completed the spraying today as the wind has got up so you can all go home in two hours time as the spray would have settled by then and we will see you back here same time same place tomorrow".
(And I complain at being relocated into a Motel for the duration of the spraying, plus seven days after due to the spray effects, never will I complain again!) And now they tell us they are going to continue this over the rest of the winter, Gods help us all here out in the West.