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Need For Chemical Trespass Bill Urgent

The Green Party will today in Parliament challenge the Government to outlaw spray drift at any level. As one way of achieving this the party will strongly urge the government to pick up the Agricultural Chemical Trespass Bill, which Labour supported for three years in Opposition.

Green MP Sue Kedgley will speak in the General Debate this afternoon on the high level of pesticide and chemical use in New Zealand and the urgent need for people to be protected from unwanted exposure to chemicals through the chemical trespass legislation.

Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons will also be asking a parliamentary question on controlling spray drift during question time this afternoon.

Both MPs said yesterday's finding that a Waiotira farmer was poisoned by spray drift from neighbouring farms highlighted the clear and pressing need for people and their property to be protected from any level of "chemical trespass".

Ms Kedgley said New Zealand sprays 3,300 tonnes of 300 different pesticide active ingredients every year and that Transit New Zealand annually sprays around one tonne of chemicals onto the road-side alone. The answer to a written question on Transit's chemical use is included along with a copy of Ms Kedgley's speech.

Ms Fitzsimons said she had been challenging then Environment Minister Simon Upton for over a year over draft government regulations which plan to legalise certain levels of spray drift under the HSNO Act. These draft regulations are still under consideration.

"The introduction of legalised levels of spray drift under the HSNO Act would not protect New Zealanders from a range of highly toxic chemicals which their neighbours chose to spray. Yesterday's decision recognised the disastrous impact that spray drift can have on the health of innocent people, backing up anecdotal evidence that I have been hearing from sufferers of spray-drift poisoning for many years," she said.

"Legislating to require all spray drift to be confined within the property, for example by passing the Agricultural Chemical Trespass Bill is the only way to provide the guarantees and safety which New Zealanders deserve and demand," she said.

Ends

Jeanette Fitzsimons MP: 04470 6661, 025 586 068 Sue Kedgley MP: 04 470 6717, 025 270 9088 Jonathan Hill (press secretary): 04 470 6719, 021 110 1133

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