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Moth spraying could well have been avoided

Moth spraying could well have been avoided - Greens

29 October 2001

Moth spraying could well have been avoided Green Agriculture Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said if MAF had not dithered for two years on how to eliminate the Painted Apple Moth in West Auckland, spraying of the suburbs could possibly have been avoided.

Mr Ewen-Street said MAF had failed to act decisively when the moth was first discovered and had denied key researchers, such as Dr John Clearwater's team, access to the materials needed to develop a pheromone-based tracking programme.

"Now after two years of sitting on their hands, MAF have no option but to spray for the moth and this is bad news for residents of the infested areas," he said.

Mr Ewen-Street said while the Btk spray is organic, the concerns of residents are justified.

"Spraying any substance over suburban housing should be a very last resort. I am concerned at the possible long-term health effects and there is anecdotal evidence that there were health effects from the last Btk spraying for the White Spotted Tussock moth in Eastern Auckland.

"The female painted apple moth cannot fly, so early attempts at eradication should have been successful. We reluctantly accept that Btk aerial spraying is now the only remaining option, but we remain concerned that sensible action was not taken two years ago."

ENDS

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