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Cabinet decides on eradication for PAM

Cabinet decides on eradication for PAM

Cabinet has decided that an expanded effort will be made to eradicate the painted apple moth, Biosecurity Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Mr Sutton said the Labour-led Government was committed to maintaining tough levels of biosecurity, and had a strong preference for eradicating pests when incursions did happen.

Key factors in the decision were the potential damage the moth posed to New Zealand's natural environment, forest industries, and human health.

"Technical advice is that eradication of the painted apple moth is still possible, despite larval finds outside the current zone. Cabinet has decided to go ahead with another eradication attempt to try to achieve this."

The discovery of more painted apple moth larvae outside the current aerial spray zone means that a much larger area will have to be sprayed, at greater cost. It is estimated that between 8000 and 12,000 hectares will need to be included, two to three times the areas sprayed by the successful white spotted tussock moth programme.

Mr Sutton said MAF officials were working in the community to help minimise any potential effects. This same organic, naturally-occurring spray was used in the eradication of the white spotted tussock moth, and there were no serious ill-effects then.

"Aerial spraying is an extremely important tool against pest incursions and it is important to be able to use it in situations such as this. All expert advisors have agreed that an eradication attempt without aerial spraying cannot succeed."

Mr Sutton said the painted apple moth project had been a difficult project technically, and there had been many factors that had caused difficulties.

"The need for community liaison, the difficulty in finding a pheromone attractant and in delimiting exactly where the moth was, as well as manuvering through the legislative requirements of both local and central government, and ensuring sufficient supply of the spray chemical, and many other factors have been frustrating for both project managers and the public.

"Cabinet has treated this incursion seriously throughout the project's life. Much consideration has been given to this decision, and we are hopeful eradication is still possible."


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