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Govt. knows Foray 48B health risks real – Greens


Govt. knows Foray 48B health risks real – Greens

By indemnifying the company behind the controversial Foray 48B insect spray, the Government has acknowledged there are potential health risks from the spray being used in the West Auckland fight against the painted apple moth, Green Party Biosecurity spokesperson Ian Ewen-Street said today.

"First the Government put aside for health considerations. $10 million of the $90 million earmarked for the painted apple moth spraying programme. Now they are saying they will pay the tab if something goes wrong. This is the Government acknowledging there are health risks, despite them repeating again in the House today the spray is safe. They know it's not safe, and the indemnity's the proof."

The Minister of Finance Dr Michael Cullen tabled the notice of indemnity in the Bills Office yesterday. The notice states that on October 9 this year, Dr Cullen as Minister of Finance gave an indemnity on behalf of the Crown in favour of AgriQuality New Zealand Limited for "the delivery of services for the painted apple moth incursion response.

The notice goes on to say: "The indemnity will indemnify AgriQuality New Zealand Limited against third party claims in respect of any chemical effects, long term effects on health or the environment or other effects which may result in the future from the use of the Btk spray to eradicate the painted apple moth."

The Government has always publicly denied any health risks from the Foray 48B spray. Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor emphasised this view again today in Parliament. But Mr Ewen-Street said today it was clear the Government really believed there were risks, or it would not have agreed to indemnify AgriQuality New Zealand Limited.

Mr Ewen-Street said it was interesting the Government used the phrase "Btk spray" in the notice of indemnity instead of the spray's full name "Foray 48B". Mr Ewen-Street said the spray's active ingredient, Btk, was not a risk to human health. It was the other 40 or so chemicals the Greens suspect are included in the spray that were concerning including the chemicals butylated hydroxy toluene and benzoic acid.

Last week Mr Ewen-Street tabled in Parliament a list of ingredients understood to be contained in the Canadian spray of the same name, Foray 48B.


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