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Majority Support Targeted Aerial Spraying

Majority of Residents Support Targeted Aerial Spraying

A just released survey of west Auckland residents shows the majority support both the eradication of painted apple moth as well as the use of targeted aerial spraying to do so.

The survey, commissioned by MAF and carried out by an independent research company, interviewed 600 residents in October and November and has a margin for error of +/- 4.0%.

"Seventy-three per cent of those surveyed thought it was either important or very important to eradicate painted apple moth," said MAF’s Director, Forest Biosecurity, Dr Ruth Frampton.

"Also of significance were the 89% of those interviewed who were neutral (27%) or who agreed (19%) or strongly agreed (43%) with the use of targeted aerial spraying to eradicate the moth."

Dr Frampton says the survey specifically canvassed residents on any concerns they might have relating to aerial spraying.

"Of the 600 surveyed, 62% or almost two-thirds indicated they did not have any concerns. Of those that indicated they did have concerns about 15% related to the perceived health impacts of the spray on people.

"In terms of health concerns we have been very aware that although independent research shows the proposed spray poses no human health risk, we must act responsibly and offer the local community the opportunity to access appropriate health advice and assistance during the operation," said Dr Frampton.

"To this end we have retained independent medical advisors who have developed a plan so local residents can easily access free medical advice if they have any worries about the spray or its effects on their health."

Action over health concerns also includes establishing a team of health professionals available at several different health clinics close to the spray zone. These professionals will offer local people free consultations as well as on the spot medical back up if they need it during the spray programme.

Information has already been distributed to the community on health issues and a medical register through MAF’s free phone line (0800 96 96 96) has been set up to identify residents with specific concerns who wish to be contacted personally before spray days so they can make alternative arrangements if they want to.

Local doctors are also being briefed.

"The use of targeted aerial spraying is designed to limit the exposure of the community to spray. We are pleased with the survey results but continue to take seriously issues raised by residents - hence the level of support we are putting in place with regards health concerns," said Dr Frampton.

"We feel this health monitoring and support programme addresses many of the concerns raised by the Community Advisory Group and we are now working to ensure the wider community is fully aware of what is available," she said.


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