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Greens Want Inquiry Into MAF Handling Of Moth

4 December 2001

Greens want inquiry into MAF handling of painted apple moth

Green MP Ian Ewen-Street today wrote to Jim Sutton and Primary Production Select Committee Chair Damien O'Connor calling for a select committee inquiry into MAF's mismanagement of the painted apple moth in West Auckland.

Mr Ewen-Street said the spread of the moth constituted a biosecurity emergency and that aerial spraying was sadly now inevitable.

"MAF have quite rightly been roundly criticised for their handling of the painted apple moth in West Auckland and their role should be subject to an inquiry to ensure this does not happen again.

"If the discovery of these moths had been handled appropriately by MAF then the spraying of whole suburbs could possibly have been avoided," he said.

Mr Ewen-Street said news that the moths had been found at the base of the Waitakere Ranges showed that the spread of the moth was much wider than previously thought and that there was a chance that elimination efforts could now fail.

"If MAF had 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, the need for aerial spraying of whole suburbs and the spread of the moth may have been avoided.

"Now the moth is being found in a huge area and there is a chance it is now established in the Waitakeres."

Mr Ewen-Street said the implications of MAFs handling of the painted apple moth could be disastrous for native biodiversity in the Waitakeres.

"We need to get an inquiry under way as soon as possible to look at what went wrong here so that these mistakes are not made again."

ENDS

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