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MAF blow chance with painted apple moth - Greens

8 November 2001

MAF blow chance with painted apple moth - Greens

Green Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said MAF had blown a big chance to eradicate the painted apple moth through denying scientists the means to design a control programme for over two years.

For two years MAF have denied Auckland scientist Dr John Clearwater access to the female painted apple moths he needed in order to design a pheromone-based control programme for two years, despite his crucial success in developing a similar programme which aided the eradication of the spotted tussock moth.

"Dr Clearwater had even offered to do the research for no charge.

"Now just one month after giving in and allowing Dr Clearwater access to these moths he has isolated all the components of a successful pheromone programme," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"According to Dr Clearwater a pheromone-based control programme is now only weeks away."

Mr Ewen-Street said if Dr Clearwater's requests had been agreed to two years ago the moth may have been successfully contained and the residents of west Auckland could have been spared the need for aerial spraying.

"The excuse from Marian Hobbs in Parliament today that MAF didn't have enough moths to share with Dr Clearwater indicates incompetence on MAFs part. The Forest Research Institute of Rotorua has managed to breed more moths in two months than MAF did in two years.

"Given Dr Clearwater's success with the spotted tussock moth I find MAFs conduct on this issue astounding," he said.

"I was calling for MAF to release these moths to Dr Clearwater 18 months ago but to no avail. Now the horse has bolted and MAF has to live with the fact that things could have been much different now if only they were more willing to consult and behave co-operatively two years ago."


ENDS

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