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Painted Apple Moth spraying vindicated

MEDIA RELEASE

12 December, 2007

Waitakere’s stance on Painted Apple Moth spraying vindicated

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey has welcomed the Ombudsman’s report which says officials in charge of the aerial spraying of the city, did not pay enough attention to the effect on public health – and it vindicates Waitakere’s stance on the issue.

In his report Mel Smith found shortcomings in the actions of both the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Ministry of Health that he said needed to be recognised so they were not repeated.

“From the moment this campaign was mooted, we as a council and our community were opposed to it, from a public health point of view and regarded MAF’s attitude as violating human rights,” said Mayor Harvey.

“And guess what? We were right. The Ombudsman’s report clearly vindicates our stance.”

“Getting information or honesty out of the Ministry Agriculture and Fisheries was an absolute nightmare. We pushed and we pushed to find out what was in the spray but commercial sensitivity was cited as to why we couldn’t get that vital information.

“How utterly ridiculous. Commercial sensitivity taking precedence over the health and well being of human beings? Outrageous.”

Mayor Harvey, who said he commended the Ombudsman’s report, and his council opposed the spray campaign from the outset and supported a People’s Inquiry.

“Let’s just hope the government departments involved have learnt their lesson in this regard. You cannot dump undisclosed ‘poison’ on people. It’s totally unacceptable.

“And in moving past this report I would like to know who is looking out for the people who were affected by the spray. Who is looking after their ongoing health concerns?”

ENDS

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