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MAF spray victim forced to endure night in tent

Condemnation of MAF policy change as spray victim forced to endure night in tent

Community representatives involved in the West Auckland campaign to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth are condemning policy changes in MAF's medical relocation service during winter targeted aerial spraying.

Hana Blackmore, member of CC-PAM and the PAM Community Advisory Group, said the new policy resulted in evacuated people last week being forced to return home too early, and one resident to spend a cold, rain-soaked night in a tent in south Auckland.

Hana is accusing MAF and their health service providers of over-riding the individual clinical and health needs of their patients to save money. She had been contacted by several residents who were denied their usual extended relocation during last week's first targeted winter spray.

"This meant that these residents had to return home before the worst of the spray residue had dispersed, resulting in severe allergic reactions," said Hana.

"Even worse is the distressing case of the resident who was forced to camp in a tent last night in horrendous weather because she could not return home and risk the serious adverse reaction she gets to the spray."

Frantic intervention today by Hana and other community representatives in this particular case, has resulted in the resident getting an immediate relocation by the PAM health service into a suitable motel.

But Hana says this case highlights the nonsense of applying 'one size fits all' policies. "There is no difference between blanket spraying and targeted spraying for those in the area who are affected. Implying that targeted spraying is not as 'harmful' , and people do not need to be evacuated for the same duration, is unscientific and unsubstantiated".

Hana is demanding an urgent review of the relocation and support service policy being offered to West Auckland residents during aerial spraying and will be contacting community representatives on the PAM Health Advisory Group

"Funding problems cannot be allowed to put people at risk. Ethically, If MAF cannot take care of people, they should stop spraying immediately. The individual health needs of every one of the spray affected people must be paramount," said Hana.

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