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Greens Pick Up Labour's Chemical Trespass Bill

Green Party Agriculture spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said he was dismayed to learn last night that Labour had withdrawn their Chemical Trespass Bill, but the Greens have immediately adopted the bill as their own.

The Bill makes it an offence to drift pesticides on to a neighbouring property without consent. It has been supported by Labour for over four years but after finally winning the ballot it was withdrawn before the first reading debate. The bill will now be in the name of Ian Ewen-Street.

"The Greens have had a very keen interest in this bill for a long time now," said Mr Ewen-Street. "There are thousands of people who are sick from spray drift and who have no legal address.

"Pesticide use poses very serious risks to peoples health as well as the ecological stability of New Zealand. Residues from the more than 3,000 tonnes of pesticides sprayed onto our crops each year currently contaminate our streams, lakes, waterways, marine environment and our own human beings," he said.

"Just recently compensation was turned down in a case of chemical trespass which seriously damaged the health of a man on a neighbouring property. The whole area of chemical trespass clearly needs some scrutiny and people need some protection."

The World Health Organisation report a wide variety of known health effects, both chronic and acute, from exposure to pesticides including cancer, immune system damage, damage to the reproductive system and birth defects.

"The Government has announced yet another 'working group' into spray drift. If it produces satisfactory legislation before this Bill is drawn from the ballot we will be happy to defer to that," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"In the meantime we will be backing this bill regardless of who it embarrasses."

Ends

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