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People’s Inquiry Invites MPs to Listen to People

ALL MEDIA – MARCH 20th 2006

People’s Inquiry Invites MP’s to Listen to the People

The People's Inquiry into the aerial spraying of pesticides gets underway in Waitakere City on Tuesday evening with a powhiri at Te Piringatahi O Te Maungarongo Marae.

An invitation has gone out to politicians at a national, local and regional level to attend the powhiri and the week long inquiry to listen to the testimony of the people affected by the aerial spraying.

During the spray programme Government and local MPs insisted that ‘the spray is safe’, despite thousands of constituent members raising concerns related to their health and the health of their families.

The Minister for Biosecurity wrote in a response to an official information request that

“Between December 2001 and March 2003 the PAM Health Service received some 10, 000 telephone enquires from people claiming health related concerns due to the spray programme. These enquires resulted in 840 receiving 940 completed medical assessments. The most common symptoms reported [to the service by the community] were asthma type symptoms, skin and eye rashes or irritations, hay fever like symptoms, pre existing food allergies and chemical sensitivities, and headaches”.

The Government have refused to support an official inquiry into the spray programme and the impact on community, and so the community has initiated its own.

“Evidence will be presented on the social, health, ecological and economic affects of aerial spraying on the community”, said Dr Meriel Watts, member of the People’s Inquiry steering committee.

Testimony will be presented to four commissioners of national and international standing with expertise in the areas of pesticide and chemical effects on human health, on human rights and the social, community and ecological impacts.

Commissioners: Prof Romy Quijano (Philippines), Dell Wihongi - Te Rarawa, Hokianga, Dr Joanna Goven (Aotearoa New Zealand), Dr Tom Kerns (USA).

Dr Meriel Watts said “It is our hope that local, national and regional decision makers will accept the community invitation to take the time to sit in on the inquiry to hear the evidence first hand. That way they may better understand the affected community which they represent”.

ENDS

Media detail information and press releases available from tool bar at www.peoplesinquiry.co.nz

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