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Inquiry Into Painted Apple Moth Cannot Be Avoided

7 May 2002

News that MAF are being advised to spray most of Auckland in a massive fixed wing spray programme against the Painted Apple Moth show why an inquiry into MAFs handling of the incursion must be held, Green Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

According to papers obtained by the Herald, MAFs technical advisory group believe the best chance of eradicating the moth is a huge fixed-wing spraying programme that would be 11 times bigger than the 1996 operation to eradicate the White Spotted Tussock Moth.

"I have called for a select committee inquiry into MAFs handling of this incursion before, when the news was nowhere near this bad. Now it simply cannot be avoided. If suggestions are being made that involve spraying most of Auckland then people have a fundamental right to know why," he said.

"After moving very, very slowly when this incursion was first discovered it now appears that MAF have fully lost control of the spread of this moth and eradication is now slipping further and further away," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"The people of Auckland will be really angry that there are now suggestions to spray much of the city when there are real concerns that not enough was done early enough and the whole incursion has been mismanaged from the start."

Mr Ewen-Street said the latest revelations showed a clear need for an inquiry into MAFs handling of the incursion and that, if fault was found, heads should roll.

Ends

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