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Moth Programme Falling To Pieces As Head Resigns

9 May 2002

Green Biosecurity Spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street today said the unexpected resignation of the head of the Painted Apple Moth spray programme in Auckland showed the operation was in crisis.

Mr Ewen-Street has this morning written to the Chair of the Primary Production Select Committee Damian O'Connor calling for an urgent public inquiry into MAF's handling of the entire incursion.

"This is an extraordinary time for the leader of this programme to resign. We are in the middle of a highly controversial aerial spraying programme and officials are advising that this programme be expanded to involve fixed wing spraying of most of Auckland," said Mr Ewen-Street.

"Dr Ruth Frampton's handling of this incursion has also been controversial and she must give us a better explanation for why she is choosing to step aside at this crucial time."

Mr Ewen-Street said he suspected the fight against the Painted Apple Moth had all but been lost and a thorough inquiry into MAF's handling of the incursion was now essential.

"I fear we may now have to learn to live with this pest which could cost this country's horticulture and forestry industries many tens of millions of dollars.

"Last year the MAF appointed Community Advisory Group called for Dr Frampton to resign, saying the Painted Apple Moth incursion and attempts to control it were a fiasco.

"Recent developments which have culminated in Dr Frampton's resignation today further support this view and the people of Auckland deserve a full explanation of what is going on.

"An inquiry is essential so we can learn from the mistakes of this programme and ensure they are not repeated when we have another biosecurity breach. We cannot have a repeat performance," said Mr Ewen-Street.


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