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Hawke's Bay scare shows need for chemical trespass

2 October 2001

Hawke's Bay scare shows need for chemical trespass ban

Green Party Agriculture spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today Hawke's Bay chemical spray scare highlighted the urgent need for the Green Party's Chemical Trespass Bill to become law.

The bill which is in the Private Members Ballot under Mr Ewen-Street's name would make any level of chemical trespass , such as spray drifting onto neighbouring properties, illegal.

"The Greens have had a very keen interest in this bill for a long time now. The Hawke's Bay incident reminds us how one persons chemicals can make other people very sick. This is unacceptable," said Mr Ewen-Street.

More than 20 people, including fire-fighters and ambulance officer, had to be taken to Hawke's Bay hospital last night, after they became ill when fumes spread from a chemical spray used at a nearby orchard.

The spray, chloropicrin, had been used to kill insects around plant roots.

Mr Ewen-Street said Hawke's Bay death rates, and hospital admission rates for asthma are much higher than the national average and incidents like this one do nothing to try and turn these statistics around.

"There are thousands of people who are sick from spray drift and who currently have no legal redress. The whole area of chemical trespass clearly needs some scrutiny and people need some protection. This is what my bill seeks to do" said Mr Ewen-Street.

"Pesticide use poses very serious risks to people's health as well as to 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," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"Chemical trespass is a clear violation of people's rights and is often an infringement on the health of both people and the environment. People have no right to drift their chemicals onto other people or other people's land and it must be stopped."

ENDS

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