Greens support chemical trespass ban
Green co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons said the four and a half year delay in recognising the poisoning of a Northland farmer by chemical spray drift highlighted the extreme difficulty victims have in establishing their claim and obtaining redress.
"You do, in fact, need to rush outside as Laurie Newman did, and take plant samples and freeze them for analysis to have any hope of providing the necessary evidence of chemical trespass," she said.
The Chemical Panel of Occupational Safety and Health today ruled that exposure to the pesticide 2,4-D caused acute illness in Waitotara farmer Laurie Newman after two neighbouring farms were sprayed with the chemical by helicopter.
"For too long New Zealanders, particularly those in the agricultural sector, have been at risk from toxic and harmful sprays and pesticides drifting onto their lands," she said.
"It is a common problem and one which people are currently powerless to prevent. With New Zealand using huge amounts of toxic sprays and pesticides in agriculture there needs to be legal protection for those people who wish to keep their property and themselves free of these chemicals.
"The Greens would like to see the government pick up the Agricultural Chemical Trespass Bill, which would make any level of chemical trespass illegal, and pass it quickly into law," she said.
"As today's case shows one persons chemicals are making other people sick. This is unacceptable to the Greens who believe the firmest of messages must be sent to those whose own choices compromise the health of innocent people," she said.
"Last year I repeatedly challenged Environment Minister Simon Upton over draft government regulations which plan to legalise certain levels of spray drift under the HSNO Act. Those draft regulations are still under consideration.
"I am hoping I will not have to challenge the new government on this issue as well."
Ends Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04 470 6661, 025 586 068 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133
Green MP Sue Kedgley will talk on chemical trespass during a speech on pesticides in The House tomorrow (Wednesday 15th) afternoon during the General Debate.