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MAF must be accountable for spread of moth

28 November 2001

MAF must be accountable for spread of painted apple moth

Green Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said MAF must be held accountable for the spread of the painted apple moth to the base of the Waitakere Ranges.

"Given MAF's appalling handling of the painted apple moth from day one, I have no confidence with their reassurances that the moth is unlikely to be established around the scene of the last discovery," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"If MAF had have behaved co-operatively over the last two years and given the team led by Dr John Clearwater access to female painted apple moths that he needed to develop a pheromone control for the moth, the need for aerial spraying of whole suburbs and the spread of the moth could well have been avoided."

Mr Ewen-Street said the discovery of a male moth and larvae at the base of the Waitakeres was an alarming development which suggested the possibility of some level of infestation.

"I would struggle to accept any suggestion that this moth was blown by the wind to the base of the Waitakeres and I would not be at all surprised if these moths had settled in the ranges.

"If these moths are in the ranges then there is a real risk to the native plants in the Waitakeres as the painted apple moths are voracious feeders."

Mr Ewen-Street said the area covered by the painted apple moth was now huge, covering from Point Chevalier to Onehunga to the Waitakeres.

"Sadly this latest discovery leaves no option for elimination other than aerial spraying and MAF must be held accountable for this.

"MAF failed to take all the available opportunities to control the painted apple moth over the last two years and now the residents in an increasingly large area look certain to have their homes sprayed from the air."

ENDS


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