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Auckland Sinking into a Toxic Dark Age

Auckland Sinking into a Toxic Dark Age

Report reveals covert chemical spraying in Auckland streets is pervasive and entrenched.

Media Release – Monday 18 January 2016: An urgent public investigation and audit is demanded by the Weed Management Advisory (WMA) after Official information Act documents reveal the extent of a chemical regime being unrolled across Auckland.

A Report* published by the WMA today shows that the vast majority of the city’s streets, paths and berms are now being sprayed with the carcinogenic chemical glyphosate (AKA Roundup), breaking all the non-chemical contracts that have been in place for twenty years.

WMA spokesperson Hana Blackmore said today that the worst of it was not just that Auckland Transport and Council have been caught breaking all their promises to honour the non-chemical regimes; it was that they were doing it secretly.

“We were truly shocked at the insidious way glyphosate use has spread across the city” she said. “The information detailed in the OIA material shows Auckland Transport sanctioning and permitting their contractors to subvert the legacy contracts in such a manner that no-one knows what is going on” she said.

“Yet they repeatedly state that where non-chemical legacy methods were being used, they are still being continued.”

The Report shows:

•Swathes of the city being sprayed 3-4 times a year with glyphosate that is being surreptitiously added to the ‘organic’ herbicide mix.

•Numerous roads pulled out of non-chemical treatment and sprayed with glyphosate instead

•Entire areas of the North Shore and inner city removed from traditional non-chemical treatments and sprayed with glyphosate instead.

•Hundreds of schools and early education centres being ‘specially’ treated with glyphosate instead of ‘organic’ herbicide.

•Supplementary sprays of glyphosate on a regular basis in all areas of the city.

The WMA adds that on top of this is the fact that all the glyphosate products being used by contractors have other chemical compounds added.

“Some of these additives like surfactants are many times more toxic than glyphosate alone or can enhance the toxicity of glyphosate when combined in the mix” said WMA scientist Dr Meriel Watts, “and as we informed both Council and Auckland Transport last year, glyphosate already carries a far higher risk of cancer than almost all other pesticides still in use.”

“It is outrageous that this pesticide is still being used at all, let alone in this covert manner without the oversight and knowledge of councillors, local boards and the affected community - most of whom are still under the illusion that their area is being treated non-chemically.”

The WMA are demanding urgent answers from Mayor Len Brown and Auckland Transport Chairman Dr Lester Levy over why the legacy practices have been subverted and secretly overturned. The WMA are renewing their calls for a complete ban on the use of glyphosate in public places.

*Auckland Sinking into a Toxic Dark Age – Report on the Current State of Auckland’s Chemical Spray Regime. WMA January 2016


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