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Thanks Auckland for putting up with the spray!

Thanks Auckland for putting up with the spray!

Forest and Bird today thanked the people of Auckland for putting up with the spray programme to eradicate the Painted Apple Moth.

"The rest of New Zealand owes Aucklanders, especially those out west, a huge amount", Forest and Bird Conservation Manager, Kevin Hackwell said today, "There can be no question that the spray programme was a significant nuisance and inconvenience to many people."

"The Painted Apple Moth posed a threat to the whole country that could have resulted in major environmental disaster", he said, "Any New Zealander with a concern for our native flora and fauna will appreciate the need to eradicate these new pests."

"Huge areas of native forest could have been defoliated by Painted Apple Moth" Mr Hackwell said, "This would also have had a huge impact on the many native animals living in those destroyed forests."

"Now that the spraying programme is over we must work hard to make sure that we learn from the mistakes associated with the Painted Apple Moth eradication programme."

"Despite sound advice to immediately deal with the early infestation, MAF failed to act. This meant that by the time eradication began the area infested by Painted Apple Moth had greatly expanded," he said.

Mr Hackwell was making these comments in the light of a recent Forest and Bird Northern Regional meeting held in Auckland, where the aerial spraying and other biosecurity measures were discussed at length.

"Future infestations must be dealt with immediately after they are detected." Mr Hackwell said, "But more importantly, we should have effective border biosecurity controls so that these pests do not get into the country in the first place."

"Once again, our thanks to the people of Auckland," said Mr Hackwell,

"Having already put up with spraying in the Eastern suburbs for the White-spotted Tussock moth earlier, it is our sincere hope that Aucklanders never have to put up with such a major eradication programme again."

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